Sad Day for New York Property Owners
Property owners have good reason to fear if they live in New York. Today, the New York Supreme Court ruled in favor of Columbia University’s expansion into West Harlem, overturning a lower court’s decision that formerly barred the expansion. Columbia’s developer, Empire State Development Corp, argued that eminent domain is appropriate because the property in West Harlem is blighted, and therefore redeveloping the area would serve a “civic purpose.”
New York has done this before. Earlier this year, the Court ruled in favor of Bruce Ratner, a developer who wanted to build an arena in the middle of a Brooklyn neighborhood. On March 1st, the Court gave Ratner the go ahead to start building; basically evicting citizens who’ve lived in their houses for years.
This ruling comes one day after the 5th anniversary of the despicable Kelo v. City of New London ruling, where private property was seized and given to the Pfizer Corporation for a project that never materialized.
Historically, eminent domain has been applied in very limited ways and for specific public purposes, i.e. to build new roads, schools, or hospitals. This ruling on the other hand, gives the government license to confiscate private property and give it to another private entity; a blatant infringement on individual property rights.
PRA strongly condemns the finding. New York has ignored property rights in favor of abusive government bureaucrats and highly-connected business owners.