Eminent Domain

NJ City Council Punished at the Polls for Attempted Land Grab

Every incumbent lost

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Michael Monaghan has wanted to develop his property on Main Street in Hackensack, New Jersey, just a few miles away from Manhattan.  Yet the city twice denied two applications for banks to build on his land. 

Instead, Hackensack's Planning Board designated Michael's and another owner's land as an "area in need of redevelopment," authorizing the use of eminent domain to condemn and seize the properties.  "I've stood up and tried to protect my property for the last eight years," he said in an interview with a local paper. …

But fortunately for property owners, Hackensack's entire city council was booted out of office.  The grassroots group Citizens for Change won every single seat on the city council, despite being outraised 2:1.  Their slate of candidates successfully ran on a platform against costly litigation, nepotism, and corruption.  (For example, Hackensack's police chief was recently convicted for official misconduct and insurance fraud.)  Citizens for Change also sharply criticized Hackensack's redevelopment projects, calling them "sweetheart deals and special privileges for politically connected property owners and developers."