Kean bill targets eminent domain abuse statewide: Middletown NJ Courier, 1/11/07

[New Jersey] Assemblyman Sean Kean, R-Monmouth, has introduced a bill that that would strictly limit when municipalities could use the power of eminent domain to seize private property.

The measure was introduced on December 14 would amend the State Constitution to prohibit the use of eminent domain for private development unless the property is demonstrated to be detrimental to the public's health, safety and welfare of the community.

“Right now, perfectly good homes are being seized and handed over to private developers who only care about lining their pockets,” he said. “Eminent domain was never intended to be used in this fashion and the Legislature must act quickly to rein in this abuse of government power.”

Kean introduced the bill in response to what he considers the abuse of eminent domain in New Jersey and in his legislative district.

“Hardworking people are having their homes taken from them simply because they happen to be located in areas coveted by developers,” he said.

Kean said the bill would ensure that citizens' homes cannot be seized simply because development at that location would bring in more tax revenue. And if the legislation, ACR-225, becomes law, a ballot question will go before the voters that ask if the Constitution should be amended to allow property to be taken when the municipality proves it negatively affects the community.

“People should not have to live in fear of having their homes taken out from under them by governments that want to increase ratables,” he added.

Kean is hopeful that his colleagues in the Legislature will recognize the need to act quickly on this measure.

Middletown NJ Courier: http://www.bayshorenews.com