State legislators take aim at eminent domain

February 04, 2010 06:36PM

From left: Assembly member Richard Brodsky and State Senator Bill Perkins

State lawmakers have proposed a legislative package to limit the power of eminent domain. The proposed laws, spearheaded by Assembly member Richard Brodsky and State Senator Bill Perkins, aim to limit eminent domain’s scope by creating a commission to review the state’s eminent domain practices and by ensuring a greater level of compensation for property owners’ whose land is seized. Many like Brodsky and Perkins contend that New York State’s eminent domain laws are woefully outdated — while many other states have updated their laws to protect homeowners, New York has made little to no change in its property seizure procedure they say. Even so, Lisa Willner, a public affairs manager for the Empire State Development Corporation, an agency tasked with helping businesses and enhancing the financial growth of the state, said that limiting eminent domain rights could imperil the fiscal future of many developers. “Eminent domain is an essential governmental tool that allows for the implementation of important development projects to the benefit of the public at large,” Willner said.