Monday, December 14, 2009

Times editorial on eminent domain: ESDC's determination of blight in Columbia case "thoroughly defensible"

The key thing to understand about today's New York Times editorial, Eminent Domain in New York, is that, as editorial writer Carolyn Curiel has stated, "We are reasoned, in how we come to opinion. But no, it's not a democracy; it's reflective of the spirit of the Times."

So "the spirit of the Times" means that the newspaper--without acknowledging its parent company's business relationship with Forest City Ratner (in building the Times Tower) and without acknowledging how eminent domain was crucial to the construction of that building--endorses, without question, the Empire State Development Corporation's highly questionable assessments of eminent domain in the cases of Atlantic Yards and the Columbia University expansion.

The editorial begins:
A New York State appellate court has misguidedly put a roadblock in the way of Columbia University’s expansion plans, ruling that the state misused eminent domain to help Columbia assemble the land it needs. This decision conflicts with the relevant law and will make it much harder for the university to move ahead with a project that would benefit the surrounding neighborhood and the entire city.
It does apparently conflict with the decision in the Atlantic Yards case, but it also raises significant questions about the ESDC's performance as well as the use of underutilization to determine eminent domain.

Blight defensible?

Here's the key line:
The Empire State Development Corporation also made a thoroughly defensible decision that eminent domain was appropriate given the blighted condition of the land at issue, between 125th and 133rd Streets near the Hudson River.
That's it? No recognition of the three blight studies? The use of underutilization? The lower court's conclusion that the blight designation in the instant case is mere sophistry?

This conclusion?
ESDC failed to demonstrate any significant health or safety issues other than minor code violations that exist throughout the city, but more particularly in the buildings controlled by Columbia.
More from DDDB and NLG.

No comments:

Post a Comment