Property Owners Victorious in New York Eminent Domain Case
This Wednesday there was a celebration in Auburn, N.Y. when the Auburn Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously against the use of eminent domain on the part of Pioneer Companies, who wished to build a Hilton Garden Inn on a plot of land currently occupied by several private residences.
The project is a recent example of an attempt at using eminent domain for the benefit of a private party, rather than public use. Mayor Michael Quill argued that the project would yield $160,000 in tax revenue for the city, at what he perceived is the relatively small cost of removing several families from their homes. Community support for the soon-to-be displaced families grew as negotiations were drawn out between the two parties. In the end, the public pressure proved too much, and the Auburn Industrial Development Agency ruled that eminent domain use was out of the question.
The victory should stand as a case of legal precedence to be followed for eminent domain use, one where its use is reserved for truly public projects and isn’t subject to the political connections of private industry. For now, the people of Auburn can sleep easy and carry on with the lives they’ve fought hard to preserve.