Boro mulls pay-to-play and eminent domain: The (Red Bank NJ) Hub, 12/15/05

By Sue Morgan


An anti-eminent domain ordinance should also be crafted and passed as a means of addressing the concerns of [Sea bright NJ] property owners who could be affected by the borough’s plans to revitalize its downtown business district and beachfront, [Councilwoman Dina] Long said.

That plan is known informally among borough officials as “the Smart Growth plan,” a reference to the $50,000 state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Smart Growth grant received by the municipality to come up with building proposals.

Long called for the proposed anti-eminent domain legislation to prohibit the borough government from taking homes or businesses for “private redevelopment or economic development.”

However, the same law would still safeguard the borough’s ability to use eminent domain for public uses such as schools or running utility lines, Long said.

“We need to show good faith to the residents of Sea Bright,” Long said, “particularly with the Smart Growth process going on.”

Eminent domain has hit home for [Mayor] Kalaka-Adams, who is presently battling Long Branch officials attempting to squeeze her out of her antiques and furniture refinishing shop on Broadway in that city.

The first-term Republican mayor, noting that she campaigned against the taking of private property for private uses in Sea Bright during her 2003 mayoral campaign, expressed support for an anti-eminent domain law.

The mayor and her husband, Jim, are fighting to keep their 20-year-old business that Long Branch officials hope to take in redeveloping the city’s downtown into the Broadway Arts Corridor.

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