BILL NUMBER: S1669
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the public authorities law, the not-for-profit
corporation law, the general municipal law and the eminent domain
procedure law, in relation to eminent domain reform
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA :
To reform the eminent domain process in relation to economic
development projects by expanding judicial reform, providing more
local control over eminent domain decisions, requiring a comprehensive
economic development plan, and requiring a homeowner impact statement
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section 1. Short Title. The act shall be referred to as the "Eminent
Domain Reform Act".
Section 2. Add a new § 1831-b to the public authorities law to give
local governments the power to approve or disapprove any public
authority's use of eminent domain.
Section 3. Amends § 1411 of the not-for-profit corporation law to give
local governments the power to approve or disapprove local development
corporation's use of eminent domain.
Section 4. Adds a new § 858-c to the general municipal law to give
local governments the power to approve or disapprove industrial
development agency's use of eminent domain.
Section 5. Amends § 103 of the EDPL to include new Definitions.
Section 6. Amends the § 204 of the EDPL to include a new section (4)
to the determinations and findings requirements by including a new
section on economic development.
Section 7. Adds a new § 204-a to the EDPL. A. Requires a
comprehensive economic development plan in cases where eminent domain
is used for economic development. Economic development plans must be
approved by the local government.
B. Requires that a homeowner impact assessment statement be completed
to assess the actual harm to affected condemnees, how the project
would benefit the community and justification for the condemnation.
C. Increases compensation to condemnees whose home or dwelling is
acquired for an economic development project. The compensation, in
addition to the compensation already required by law, would be 150% of
total fair market value.
Section 8. Amends § 207 of the EDPL to expand judicial review in cases
where a condemnor substantially alters the scope of the project, or
the determinations and findings, to allow citizens a fair process.
Section 9. Is the effective date.
The use of eminent domain is an important power for government to move
forward on important public projects. However, the recent United
States Supreme Court decision, KELO et al., v. CITY OF NEW LONDON et
al., underscores the need for further eminent domain reform.
Several issues emerge from the Committee's investigations and the
Supreme Court decision. First, is the meaning of public use under the
5th Amendment of the United States Constitution (New York has a
similar constitutional provision. See: Article I, section 7 of the
State Constitution). The New London decision centers on condemnation
where one private interest is favored over another for the public
purpose of economic development. The Court held that the economic
development plan of the city did constitute a public use.
Specifically, however, the decision focused on the appropriate legal
standard of review. The Supreme Court gives wide latitude to
governments to determine public use.
The second issue that emerges is who is using the power of eminent
domain. In New York, like the New London case, these decisions are
often done through quasi-public development agencies or authorities.
In New York quasi-public entities such as industrial development
agencies, local development corporations and public authorities have
the power of eminent domain to fulfill their public mission. Often
these quasi-public entities can condemn homes for economic development
projects. Authorities and other development agencies are shielded from
traditional public scrutiny.
This legislation specifically focuses on condemnation in which private
property is taken for economic development purposes and transferred to
other private entities. In these cases, government must be extremely
cautious in using its power of eminent domain and must do everything
in its power to protect citizens. The Eminent Domain Reform Act will
include three major provisions: increasing the timeframe citizens can
appeal decisions to condemn, enacting significant protections for
homeowners and other displaced residents where their property was
condemned for economic development, and empowering local governments
to have decision making power of the use of eminent domain by public
authorities and IDAs.
This bill would strike the right balance between the needs of society
and individual liberties.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2006: Senate Finance Cmte./Assembly Judiciary Cmte.
FISCAL IMPLICATION FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it
shall have become law.