The Atlantic Yards circus made a stop in Albany yesterday to argue about the project’s use of eminent domain, in oral arguments before the state’s Court of Appeals.
Eliot Brown went along too, and came back with a slideshow. Eliot says the judges were quick to interrupt and spent a considerable amount of time arguing about standing, and about blight.
If the court rules on a narrow point like standing, the seven-judge panel could dodge a big issue in the case, which is whether the state was too eager to declare the property blighted so they could condemn the land and then seize it under eminent domain. A sweeping decision on that score could have far-reaching impacts for development projects hoping to use eminent domain throughout the state. There’s also a question about whether the public purpose–which is required of eminent domain–is sufficient in a case like this, which involves a private project with certain community benefits.
“Suppose I am a developer and I want to buy on an area that is half blighted and half not,” one judge asked of the state’s development agency, according to City Room. “They can condemn the whole thing, even if only half of it is blighted?” Yes, the lawyer answered.
Naturally, Atlantic Yards Report has a very detailed look.