Bloomfield’s Little Guys Versus The Wrecking Ball

Tuesday, Mar 07, 2006 10:15am  |  COMMENTS (7)

Today, the eminent domain battle that has been raging in downtown Bloomfield over the property at 110 Washington Street will again go to the courts. An August ruling by Superior Judge Patricia Costello halted the wrecking ball, and now the case bounces to the State Appeals Court  in Hackensack. From the Star Ledger:

Business relocations, property sale negotiations, everything has stopped, said Catherine Tamasik, Bloomfield’s redevelopment lawyer.

"We agree the center needs to be redeveloped," said Victor Lewis, who along with five others filed a lawsuit against the township. "But if (the town) thinks the merchants asked for them to come in and use eminent domain, offer next to nothing for the property and put you out of town, they are crazy."

But don√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t think this will be the town√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s last day in court.  Redevelopment downtown  may remain at a standstill  – both sides say they’ll slug it out all the way to New Jersey Supreme Court if the ruling is not in their favor.

7 Comments

  1. POSTED BY todd  |  March 07, 2006 @ 10:29 am

    I hardly consider Mandlebaum, the landlord of 110 Washington a little guy. They happen to be one of the wealthiest families in NJ. Judging from the condition of their properties in Bloomfield Center, they’re not using much of their fortune to maintain them. It’s curious how they can afford to spend as much money as it takes on expensive lawyers but nothing for their tenants??

  2. POSTED BY Right of Center&#153  |  March 07, 2006 @ 10:32 am

    todd,
    is your perspective on this relative? Does what it right depend on how “big” or “little” the guy is whose property is being commandeered?

  3. POSTED BY Franklin  |  March 07, 2006 @ 11:44 am

    Though the focus of the Star Ledger article is on Bloomfield the use and misuse of eminent domain has become a national issue.
    Was it one thing allow the take over private property in the 1800′s for robber barons to build railroads but is it any different today?
    Will the little guy always be squeezed out?

  4. POSTED BY todd  |  March 07, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

    ROC – One’s perspective is always relative. Do you mean relevant perhaps? My observation above was a direct response to the blog heading.
    I agree that the interpretation of the law should not matter whether one is “little” or not. I was trying to dispell a possible misconception here that this fight is about a big bad town trying to take (without just compensation) from the meek. It’s money and egos duking it out here – on both sides. The meek ( including the tenants and the taxpayers of Bloomfield ) are the victims caught in the middle.

  5. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  March 07, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

    All this redevelopment talk is worthless if the town doesn’t do more to control the slumlords. I use to want to buy in Bloomfield, especially one of the new apartments that are part of the redevelopment plans. But since living here in a rental unit I know it will be a bad investment. The town has no control over anything. If repairs don’t get made there is nothing you can do. I know that once I’m paying mortgage and a maintenance fee that nothing will really be maintained. I’ll be the owner of a slum not just a renter.

  6. POSTED BY solar-powered  |  March 07, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

    The N.J. Supreme Court? Protracting this battle any longer isn’t doing anyone any good, least of all the residents of Bloomfield. Frankly I’m losing patience with both sides. It’s a shame they can’t go into mediation, so that something could start happening besides an erosion of businesses.

  7. POSTED BY mgray  |  March 07, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

    emenint domain laws were SUPPOSED to be so that governments could take possession of private land for public needs. This is obvious when it comes to highways and parks and other public works.
    The PROBLEM with it’s most common use today is that it’s used to take PRIVATE property from one owner, and then to redevelop it and hand the redeveloped property to a NEW PRIVATE OWNER. This is the controversy.
    Local Governments claim that an increase in economic activity is a good enough “public interest” to take somebody’s property away. Opponents say that it’s basically theft, and is actually bad economics, since it means that developers don’t have to bid on the open market for private property, they just have to pay off a few local government officials. (Often much cheaper!).

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