In Eminent Domain, Statutory Construction Reigns Supreme

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in Eminent Domain

By: Cameron W. MacLeod, Esq.

Under New Jersey law, public utilities are afforded the ability to exercise eminent domain by statute. Railroads are included in the general class of public utilities, and also have their own separate statute by which to exercise eminent domain when doing is part of the “exigencies of business.” Recently, in Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Intermodal Properties, LLC, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division in permitting the exercise of eminent domain by Norfolk Southern in taking neighboring property, but did so in a way that highlights the Court’s approach to statutory interpretation.

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The End of General-Special Benefits Distinction in Harvey Cedars v. Karan and a Potential Benefit for Municipalities Exercising Eminent Domain

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Eminent Domain, Superstorm Sandy Recovery

By: Cameron W. MacLeod, Esq.

New Jersey courts determining the “just compensation” value for a piece of property have long relied on the distinction between “special” and “general” benefits in deciding what evidence to admit for consideration.  “Special” benefits that affect that particular parcel could be considered for purposes of valuation; “general” benefits affecting the municipality more broadly could not.  The New Jersey Supreme Court, however, recently determined that such a distinction has “outlived its usefulness,” and adopted a valuation approach that takes into account the fair market value of the land based on all “non-speculative, reasonably calculable benefits,” regardless of whether these are due to public or private improvements.  This brings New Jersey in line with more contemporary just compensation case law, and broadens the evidentiary scope for condemnation hearings for both total and partial takings cases.  It also creates an interesting benefit for municipalities conducting improvement projects such as dune building or beach restoration, where those projects either preserve or possibly increase the value of the taken property.

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Legislators Introduce New Eminent Domain Bill

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 in Eminent Domain

By: Henry T. Chou, Esq.
After 18 months of negotiations, Senator Ronald Rice (D-Essex) and Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) have introduced a compromise bill that proposes to maintain the government’s ability to condemn property for redevelopment, while attempting to reign in past practices that have been deemed abusive.

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