For several years prior to and during my recent successful re-election to Camden City Council, I met with many of my Ward 4 constituents and other residents of Camden concerning a very important, and oftentimes, controversial issue faced by municipalities statewide: the use of eminent domain by the city government.
As the state Legislature debates and enacts legislation providing further statutory guidance in the use of eminent domain by municipalities, in the end it is not so much redevelopment requirements and parameters, but a municipality's engagement and accommodation of the affected residential neighborhoods that will matter most. The city has learned this the hard way.
In anticipation of the introduction of redevelopment plans in Camden and the potential use of eminent domain in the acquisition of properties, I previously sponsored an ordinance that would subject all city redevelopment plans to a 10-point review that would engage the city's neighborhoods and foster their active participation in the entire redevelopment process. Please visit my Web site: www.angelfuentesforcitycouncil.com.
Furthermore, the 10-point review would ultimately seek to minimize the impact and maximize the benefits to those city neighborhoods affected by a redevelopment plan. Where property would potentially be acquired - particularly through eminent domain - my 10-point review requires:
- The redevelopment plan justify or demonstrate the best effort of the city to minimize the actual properties to be acquired.
- In the interest of removing uncertainty concerning the redevelopment status of any property that may hamper property owners' ability to sell or transfer their property, no secondary list under the category "may be acquired" will be accepted in any redevelopment plan.
Rest assured, I and my colleagues on City Council have and will continue to ensure that the acquisition of properties and related potential use of eminent domain under any city redevelopment plan genuinely serve the best interests of all Camden's neighborhoods.
Cherry Hill NJ Courier Post: http://www.courierpostonline.com
Angel Fuentes is the Camden NJ City Council president