How to Derail Abusive Redevelopment

In Newton, New Jersey, town officials are considering a plan that would declare the Railroad District “in need of redevelopment” – and if you’re from New Jersey, you know what that means. Eminent domain for private gain. The Castle Coalition helped members of the community form D.A.R.N. (Derail Abusive Redevelopment in Newton), and last week they hosted a screening of Not for Sale. Here’s a report from Connie Sutton, a founder of the group, that provides a glimpse into the unpredictable frontlines of the battle against eminent domain abuse:

When we got to the Hampton Diner just before the meeting, my husband plugged in the new television we’d purchased to show the DVD on…and white smoke came out of it. A lot of white smoke. We unplugged it, and then couldn’t get the DVD out. When we finally managed to, we played it on a very small television that nobody could hear or see. So I just started talking…

This minor setback and initiative on Connie’s part sparked an over two-hour-long conversation about the proposed plan.

Then Joe Grather, an attorney for McKirdy & Riskin, started talking and answering questions. Then, Councilman Ray Storms – a surprise attendee – got up and spoke. He said he was the only vote on the Town Council against eminent domain. Manny Amaral from Harrison and Raj Sinha from Liberty Farm in Sandyston also shared their personal experiences…

Now THIS is how to derail abusive redevelopment! The Newton Planning Board will consider the redevelopment plan this Wednesday, March 19, at 7:30pm.

To join D.A.R.N., please e-mail

And p.s…Connie is returning the television.