senate Bill S1653

Relates to the use of eminent domain

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Bill Status

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 04 / Feb / 2009
  • 06 / Jan / 2010


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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Legislative Cycle:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
Eminent Domain Procedure Law

Sponsor Memo



An act to amend the eminent domain procedure law, in relation to the
use of eminent domain


To prevent eminent domain abuse and ensure that eminent domain is only
used for true public projects.


Section 1 -- Amends section 104 of the Eminent Domain Procedure Law to
state that eminent domain may only be used for traditional public
projects. This section also outlines what constitutes a traditional
public project.

Section 2 -- Adds a section 204-a to the Eminent Domain Procedure Law
to require that any eminent domain takings by non-elected industrial
development agency (IDA) board must be approved by the elected
governing body of the municipality for whose benefit the agency was
created and where the property proposed to be condemned is located.

Section 3 -- Amends subdivision (A) of section 702 of the Eminent
Domain Procedure Law to require that the owner of property being taken
by eminent domain be paid relocation costs.

Section 4 -- Effective date.


In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the case of
KELO V. CITY OF NEW LONDON , that the various benefits associated
with economic development can provide a valid "public purpose" which
justifies the taking of property by eminent domain for projects that
substantially benefit a private party. In that case, the City of New
London approved a revitalization plan which authorized the use of
eminent domain to take private properties which were clearly not
blighted, but rather would be included in a larger project focused on
a research facility to be built by Pfizer corporation. In declining to
provide any definitive rule on the use of eminent domain when a
private party is a significant beneficiary of the action, the Court's
opinion cited a long standing policy of deference to legislative
judgments. The opinion further noted that a state may place further
restrictions on its exercise of the takings power, as many do through
statute or constitutional limitations.

This legislation clarifies that the exercise of eminent domain powers
should be reserved for those public infrastructure and services
purposes commonly provided by government. Such projects, including
transportation, public safety, recreation, water supply and sanitation
facilities, are essential functions that can require the utilization
of private property, for which the property owner should be fully
compensated. The compensation currently provided for under New York's
eminent domain process includes the value of the property and certain
other costs, such as prepayment penalties on a mortgage. For many
property owners, however, the relocation costs associated with moving
to a new location can represent an undue burden. Businesses in
particular may be unable to reestablish operations in the face of such
costs, placing existing investment in a community, and associated
jobs, at risk. The bill includes such relocation costs as an
incidental expense which must be paid to the owner of a property being
taken by eminent domain.
To ensure that the overall impact on a community is fully considered
in those circumstances where an industrial development agency (IDA) is
exercising eminent domain powers to take a property, any such action
will be subject to a vote by the elected governing body of the
municipality for whose benefit the agency was created and where the
property proposed to be condemned is located to determine whether or
not to condemn the property.

The provisions of this bill will enhance oversight of the use of
eminent domain and more fairly compensate those owners that have
property taken for important public uses.


2005-2006 -- S.5938 (reported from the Judiciary Committee)/A.9079
(referred to the Judiciary Committee)
2007-2008 -- S.915-A (reported from the Judiciary Committee)/A.661-A
(referred to the Judiciary Committee)



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