- Failed to pass legislative reform.
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New Jersey desperately needs reform, as the State’s Public Advocate admitted in his recent report. In particular, the criteria used to declare an area “in need of redevelopment,” a designation that triggers the power of eminent domain, are so broad that most every New Jersey property is subject to acquisition.
There have been bills that purport to reform the Local Redevelopment Housing Law (LRHL) definition of “blight,” but they fall short of the reforms necessary for true eminent domain protection in New Jersey. The new definitions contained the same vague and subjective criteria used by municipalities to take property for private development, such as “dilapidated,” “obsolescent,” and “lack of proper utilization.” The definition for “detrimental to safety, health, or welfare of the community” appeared to have more objective criteria for residences, but businesses are left even more unprotected, since “lack of proper utilization” that leads to “stagnant or not fully productive” use of the land makes properties “blighted.”
New Jersey is one of the nation’s worst eminent domain abusers and is one of the states with the most work to do in the legislature.