Mayor seeks eminent domain limits : Tri-Town News (Howell NJ), 11/23/05

By Kathy Baratta

[Howell NJ] Mayor Joseph M. DiBella was expected to ask the Township Council this week to back his proposal that they adopt an ordinance that would prohibit the practice of using eminent domain to aid a private developer in Howell.

DiBella first stated his intention to draft such ordinance at a Nov. 10 meeting of the Planning Board. DiBella and Councilman Peter Tobasco are members of the board.

The mayor was expected to act on his promise at the Nov. 22 council meeting.

DiBella said he would seek to develop an eminent domain ordinance after a series of hearings in which Planning Board members who were examining the possible establishment of a redevelopment authority with oversight for a specific property in Howell heard from residents who were opposed to the idea.

After the Nov. 10 meeting, DiBella expanded on his remarks in a press release.

Referring to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Connecticut case (Kelo v. New London) in which a divided court said eminent domain (condemnation of property) could be used to advance the projects of private developers, DiBella said, “As mayor I am deeply troubled by this decision and believe that the power of the government must be limited so that no one can take someone’s home, business, farm or land just to help a private entity.

“I want it to be the law in Howell that the municipal government can never use eminent domain to assist a private entity or developer in any way,” he said.

Tri-Town News: http://tritown.gmnews.com