NY Court of Appeals Upholds City Condemnation

NY Court of Appeals Upholds City Condemnation

The Petitioner contested the determination of Kota Tonawanda (City) which has the authority to condemn the Petitioner’s property after going through an open trial. The property, which sits along the Niagara River, includes a coal-fired power station that was decommissioned in 2016 and a water intake building. The applicant starts process No. 1 by stating that the City failed to publish a brief synopsis of its decision and findings within 90 days as required by EDPL 204(A) and stating various other reasons for assistance. Shortly thereafter the City published its decision and findings in accordance with EDPL 204(A) and the applicant then proceeded to No. 2 by stating that the premature publication of the City’s decision and findings falls under EDPL 204(A) and otherwise stating the same reasons for assistance.

The court of appeals refused to continue No. 1 finding was disputed by the subsequent publication of the information. With respect to benefits in process No. 2, the Court noted that EDPL 204(A) found that the punisher, “in [90] days after the end of the public hearings held pursuant to this article, shall make decisions and findings regarding the proposed public project and shall publish a brief synopsis of such determinations and findings in at least two consecutive editions of the official newspaper if one is appointed on site where the project will be located and in at least two consecutive issues of the newspaper in general circulation in that location.” While the Court agreed that the publication of the synopsis by the City was untimely because it was not made within 90 days of the hearing, the Court agreed with the City that the applicant was not harmed by the delay, and the applicant does not argue otherwise. Therefore the Court concluded that the error did not oblige it to reject the decision.

The court rejected the applicant’s opinion that the condemnation would serve no benefit, benefit, or public purpose, finding that the City’s condemnation of the property served public use by, among other things, revitalizing and rebuilding former industrial property, which had damaged the City, and maintaining a raw water supply. which is important to the significant industrial employers in the City. The court further rejected the plaintiff’s contention that the sentence was excessive because it found neither abuse or use of reckless discretion by the City in determining the scope.

Regarding the applicant’s opinion that the City failed to comply with the segmentation requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the Court noted that “The City determined that acquiring the property would not result in significant adverse environmental impacts and further expressed an understanding that any future development or construction at the property will be subject to a separate environmental review. There is no imprecise segmentation because the City ‘is not required to consider the environmental impact of anything beyond an acquisition.’”

Finally, the Court does not agree with the applicant’s opinion that the City’s stated intention to acquire the property indicates an intention to engage in private enterprise which is constitutionally prohibited because the City intends to sell the property to a private developer since “'[t]Substandard real estate works by municipalities for redevelopment by private companies have long been recognized as a type of public use.’”

Huntley Power v Tonawanda City, 2023 WL 3912499 (NYAD 4 Dept.2023)

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