Kean calls for end to eminent domain abuse: Long Branch NJ Atlanticville, 3/8/07

Assemblyman Sean T. Kean (R-11) called for changes in the state's eminent domain laws - including a more rigorous standard for property condemnation - at a town meeting in Long Branch last week.

Kean hosted a town meeting Feb. 28 as part of an initiative to hold town meetings in each of the 25 municipalities in the 11th District.

The meeting was Kean's second town meeting in Long Branch.

According to a press release from his legislative office, Kean said the eminent domain statutes must ensure that the power of eminent domain is not abused.

"By carefully redefining the use of eminent domain and where it can be applied, we can end the practice of using eminent domain to seize homes that are not negatively impacting the community," he said in the press release.

Kean's remarks came in response to many questions from the audience concerning the city's use of eminent domain.

He stated at the meeting that legislation he has proposed would help to protect private property owners by requiring the municipality to determine that the property is detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of its residents in order for it to be condemned, according to the release.

"My legislation would propose a constitutional amendment that requires private property in a blighted area must be determined to be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of its residents before it can be condemned for development or redevelopment purposes," he said in the release.

"If this legislation were enacted and approved by the voters, peoples' homes could not be taken simply because they are located in a redevelopment zone."

In addition to eminent domain, members of the audience inquired about Kean's view on the Long Branch Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ).

Kean said he believes the UEZ program is a success and he is committed to working to keep the UEZ program operating.

"The Urban Enterprise Zone program is helping communities like Long Branch to stimulate business," he said, adding, "It would definitely negatively impact the businesses in Long Branch and Asbury Park if the UEZ program is eliminated."

Other issues addressed included the lack of affordable housing in Monmouth County, the governor's recently announced budget, homeowners insurance and proposals to reduce state property taxes.

Long Branch NJ Atlanticville: http://atlanticville.gmnews.com