Attorneys from IJ argued before the New Jersey Appeals Court this morning. From the press release:
Lori Vendetti and approximately a dozen other Long Branch homeowners are fighting the city’s effort to replace their middle-class oceanfront homes with high-end condos for the wealthy. Vendetti said, “Our home means everything to us. It is not merely a brick structure. My father worked hard to have this house built in 1960 and it has always been a part of our family. I’ll continue to fight until there’s no eminent domain abuse hanging over us. We hope the court will find in our favor and end this nightmare so we can all get on with our lives.”
Vendetti said, “People should not be forced out of their homes for someone else’s private development. We have to take a stand and hopefully our homes will be saved. We hope to help other people throughout New Jersey so this cannot happen again.”
Long Branch homeowner Denise Hoagland, said, “What Long Branch is doing is a blatant abuse of government power and the courts need to stop it. It’s very difficult to live oppressed for so long, much more difficult than people can imagine.”
The homeowners will argue that the trial court should have dismissed the condemnations because Long Branch violated New Jersey redevelopment law in wrongly declaring much of the city “blighted.” None of the evidence submitted by the city in the blight designation satisfied the standards spelled out in the state’s blight statute. Cities like Long Branch often declare vast swaths of ordinary property “blighted” because “blight” triggers the power to take valuable land away from one owner and transfer it to another. As in the Long Branch case, these transfers are typically from people of modest means to powerful private developers.