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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Long Branch Homeowners Hail Appeals Court Victory

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Blogger Bob said...

Long Branch Homeowners

Hail Appeals Court Victory

Court Deals Fatal Blow

To City & Developer’s Case

Arlington, Va.-Today, a three-judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division unanimously reversed the June 2006 decision of Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson, which allowed the city of Long Branch, N.J., to condemn a charming seaside neighborhood known as MTOTSA for a luxury condominium development. This is the latest in a series of major decisions from New Jersey courts, including the Supreme Court, recognizing that state law and the New Jersey Constitution place real limits on the power of government to condemn property for private development.

After explaining how the lower court misapplied the law, the court of appeals found that the city did not provide “substantial evidence” to support its findings of blight.

“The Court basically told the city that if that’s all it has, it can’t take these homes,” said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents many of the homeowners along with Peter Wegener of Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf in Lakewood, N.J. “It’s too late for the city to manufacture more evidence, so the Court’s ruling is a fatal blow to the city. We are confident the owners will prevail on remand.” The owners will also have the opportunity to show that changing the plan to use eminent domain was illegal.

This ruling builds on, and reinforces, last summer’s landmark New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Gallenthin Realty Development, Inc. v. Borough of Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007), in which the state’s high court held that the government cannot declare an area “blighted” and seize property simply because the government wants to engage in economic development.

The entire three-judge panel joined in the decision and wrote, “We agree with appellants that, in light of the principles laid down in Gallenthin, the City did not find actual blight under any subsection of N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5, that the record lacked substantial evidence that could have supported the New Jersey Constitution’s standard for finding blight, and that the absence of substantial evidence of blight compels reversal.”

The next step in the case will take place in the trial court, where Judge Lawson will hold a hearing. Under today’s ruling, unless the city can produce a secret file containing substantial evidence of blight in the neighborhood, its efforts to bulldoze modest homes for a private developer must fail.

“This victory for the Long Branch homeowners is a victory for property owners across the Garden State, sending a clear message that abusers of eminent domain will be held accountable,” said Bullock.

Lori Vendetti, a longtime MTOTSA homeowner and a leader in the fight to save the neighborhood, said, “This obviously shows that something wasn’t done right. It’s vindication.” Long Branch’s MTOTSA neighborhood is an acronym for the streets Marine Terrace, Ocean Terrace and Seaview Avenue.

“New Jersey courts understand that ‘blight’ and ‘redevelopment’ are often merely smokescreens for taking valuable property from people of modest means and giving it to rich and powerful developers,” said Jeff Rowes, a staff attorney with the Institute for Justice. He added, “Our long-awaited trial will expose the City’s eminent domain abuse as the sham it is.”

# # #

Chris Grodecki
Castle Coalition
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Phone: (703) 682-9320
Fax: (703) 682-9321

P.S. HELP THE CASTLE COALITION GROW! Forward this message to your friends. They can sign-up here:

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its time that the court tell city gov't stop its bull shit.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ans very soon St Paul will be hailing a court decision!

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The law has already been changed in Minnesota and cities can no longer take properties for ecconomic development purposes.

The U.S. constitution requires government (the public) to pay just compensation anytime it takes back its land.

In the last few years some land holders have challanged the publics ability to take back its land. Every one of them have lost, because the country is owned by all of us and we the people can determine a higher and better use of every piece of land. The constitution requires just compensation when that occurs.

What has happened in Minnesota is that the State has restricted how and when cities can use that power. What they did was to say that you can only take for ecconomic development when there is blight and then defined blight to such an intence level that there is no longer any blight in the State of Minnesota.

It appears that they have changed the law in New Jersey as well and someone challanged it and lost. The states have the power to restrict what their cities do.

At some point when the cities get shitty enough the state will give them the power back.


Chuck Repke

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Repke guys a real know it all!Chuck if you know so much why do you struggle so much in the private market?Why is it you need the government to help you make it in the private sector.(i.e. Cub foods deal)

Chuck your so smart.But theirs one thing I know and thats you and your buddy Thune are slobs that can't keep your properties up.

I know you real good Repke.I was steered here by someone within the city that said theres going to be a round table discussion.Don't count on it folks.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They'll chicken out with an excuse you can't argue with because they know what they're doing is wrong.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information Chuck

Alex Wendt
East Side Pride

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

Chuck said " The U.S. constitution requires the government (the public)to pay just compensation any time it takes back its land ".

Chuck, the so called U.S. government cheated the indians out of their lands in the 18th 19th centurys in our history.

The so called U.S. government stole the states of Texas and the rest of the so called american southwest form mexico.

Why is it that you always seem to stand behind the corrupt ways of government.

You are blind to the realities of just who and what our so caled government stands for.

The wonderful United States that you and I live in are not so rosy.

We have the highest crime rate per capita in the world.

The highest incarceration rate per capita in the world.

One of the highest human rights violaters in the world !

What was the law back then when our so called government stole land from other nations and first comers to this land mass we call the United States ?

Did we give just compensation to those nations and peoples ?

Jeff Matiatos

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, I wish I was a Indian so I could live on the reservation and get thousands of dollars of free reparation money

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff a little world history for you. Countries have been going to war for land since the dawn of time. Through out most of time the US wouldn't recognize the Native peoples as sovreign. The US got all of the land East of the Mississippi from England after the revolution. It then bought the Louisiana Purchase from France getting the mid-section of the country. In 1848 it then negosiated a treaty with Mexico whith an army sitting in Mexico City that gave it the west cost. It bought Oregon, Washington and Alaska and inherited Hawaii.

As far as We the people of the United States were concerned the Indians were squating on lands we bought or got from war. It wasn't until the turn of the last century that the US government treated the Native people as anything other than land thiefs. They now have some recognized sovereignty rights but limited.

Here is the deal on property rights. You are not the "KING" of your land. "We the people" of the United State are sovereign. All of the U.S. belongs to we the people. The land that you own was origanally owned by the Federal government. It sold it to you maintaining an option to buy it back. That option is called "Eminent Domain." Whenever the government chooses to exercise that option the 5th amendment to the constitution requires you to be paid "just compensation." The states have that same option and it passes that option on to the cities. In Minnesota the state has said to the cities, you only have the power to do that to build roads or bridges or parks; you no longer can do that to upgrade the neighborhood or increase the tax base.

Sorry, to break it to you, but that is just the way it is.

And 10:53 join the club. It is nothing unusual for morons to insult me here, gutless piece of crap...


Chuck Repke

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...


Clue me in about the reparations money we give to indians ?

You should be lucky not to be living there, not that the indians dont mind either having to be segregated in an internment camp right ?

Chuck, I can appreciate your attempts to explain history, but prior to the 5th amendment, the word emminent domain was not even in the vocabulary of the United States Government.

We created emminent domain as we know it today, after the fact when at that time in history,the U.S. government stole lands from the indians and mexico.

Jeff Matiatos

12:05 PM  
Anonymous 10:24 said...

Casino cash! Jeff.

my sister is married to an indian and all they do is travel, spend money on atv's, trucks, boats, rv buses, cabin.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...


Anyone in your family win big at a casino ?

Even a few thousand dollars winnings you should be happy with.

All that money the indians have as a result of casino revenue is from losers who gamble and choose to risk their hard earned income.

You wouldn't be complaining if you were an indian lucky enough to be that small percentage of tribal members that actually make a killing. (not scalping either)

Casino cash is not reparations.

If it is, I guess I got some to when I won at the casino.

Ask Eric what reparations are, maybe he knows ?

Jeff Matiatos

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me Chuck that your "we the people" shit was tried with a little variation to it and that gave us the ricomen and the current situation the city is in. The government is not "we the prople" Chuck, it is restrained by "we the people."

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Bill Cullen said...

St. paul is not claiming condemnation, so this case doesn't really apply.

Are there cases that apply more to code compliance and the powers cities have or don't have?

Bill Cullen.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

This was a requested post from Castle Coalition.

3:35 PM  

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