Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gothamist: Eminent Domain Lives...In Williamsburg

Gothamist writes on eminent domain all around town in "Eminent Domain Lives...In Williamsburg":

It's no secret that there's been an increase in use of the eminent domain power. High-profile projects that have resorted to it include Atlantic Yards, Willets Point in Queens, the Second Ave. subway project, the New York Times Building and Columbia's Manhattanville campus. All these takings have spawned a new term: eminent domain abuse.

This month, the city actually abandoned a plan to use eminent domain to secure properties for a parking garage and public plaza on a Duffield St. block in downtown Brooklyn - due to a technical oversight. Some of the homes were abolitionist homes involved in the Underground Railroad. While preservationists declared a victory, we're not really sure that the city is going to run away from this one just yet. In other words, another "blight" determination could be just around the corner.
Of course, the city did not "abandon" its plan to use eminent domain to destroy the Abolitionist homes on Duffield. They rescinded their eminent domain findings, and they have expressed their intention to continue pursuing their vision of a new underground parking lot on Duffield Street. We have reported on it here and here.

UPDATE: Gothamist has appended its post with a statement that I emailed regarding the term "abandoned." The City has scheduled a new eminent domain hearing on Monday Oct. 29 to continue with its plan to confiscate the properties.