Jersey City: About Face!

by: Anthony F. Della Pelle
12 Aug 2011

Jersey City Hears McGinley Square Residents’ Eminent Domain Complaints – Withdraws Redevelopment Plan from Agenda

Less than 24 hours after the Jersey City Planning Board recommended that a redevelopment area be designated that would authorize the use of eminent domain, a proposed resolution and ordinance to accept the Planning Board’s recommendation and approve a redevelopment plan was withdrawn by the Jersey City Council from its agenda.  The Council has been under increasing pressure from residents to abandon the use of eminent domain, including an appearance at one meeting by the anti-eminent domain advocates at Washington, D.C.’s Institute for Justice.  The McGinley Square East Redevelopment Plan has drawn intense scrutiny since McGinley Square property owners received letters notifying them of the plan and the potential use of eminent domain.

Eminent domain can only be used for redevelopment in New Jersey after a municipality designates a particular area as an area “in need of redevelopment” under the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.  Afterwards, the municipality must then adopt a Redevelopment Plan which specifies whether properties within the area boundaries will be acquired and the use of eminent domain may be authorized.

In this Jersey City project, it appeared that the City had preliminarily agreed with its own planning board that the area qualified as an “area in need of redevelopment”, but as a result of this about-face, the designation did not occur and, at least for now, residents may take solace in the fact that there is not an approved plan which would permit eminent domain to be exercised to acquire their properties.  Whether the area is the focus of future or continued redevelopment or rehabilitation efforts — the latter of which not involving eminent domain — remains to be seen.

 For articles discussing the topic, please see the following:

 Controversial McGinley Square East Redevelopment Plan ordinance withdrawnHudson Reporter

 JC Council to consider McGinley Square East Redevelopment Plan, possible use of eminent domain – Hudson Reporter

 Jersey City Planning Board OKs city council’s McGinley Square redevelopment plan – Star-Ledger

 Taking it to the streets: McGinley Square residents launch citywide anti-eminent domain campaign – Hudson Reporter

 For previous blog posts on redevelopment in New Jersey, please see the following:

 Hackensack Redevelopment Challenge Permitted Over Objection to Hearing Notice

 Federal Appeals Court Halts Mt. Holly Gardens Redevelopment Project

 Eminent Domain Reform Legislation Fails in NJ Senate

 Bloomfield Redevelopment Finally Moves Forward Following Township Council Vote

 The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Cory K. Kestner, Esq., of McKirdy & Riskin, PA, in the preparation of this article.