Taking New York: Opportunities, Challenges & Dangers Posed by the Use of Eminent Domain in New York: A Symposium Presented by the Fordham Urban Law Journal

Article excerpt

February 11, 2011

When we set out to develop the Symposium topic for the Fordham Urban Law Journal, we found inspiration in the recent court cases surrounding the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn and Columbia University's expansion in West Harlem and their use of eminent domain. We wanted to make sure the Symposium topic stayed true to the Urban Law Journal's focus on urban issues. Not only does eminent domain fit squarely within that sphere, but its use is also so broad that it touches categories beyond just the law. So often eminent domain has negative connotations, but we wanted the Symposium, and this Issue, to present a wide range of opinions that would explore the opportunities, dangers, and challenges posed by the use of eminent domain, specifically with respect to New York State.

Our goal for the Symposium was to address the state of the law of eminent domain use in New York and to take a fresh look at the ways in which New York's system differs from those of other states. Some of the questions we hoped to address included:

* How will the New York Court of Appeals' recent decision in Kaur v. New York State Urban Development Corp. affect the use of eminent domain as a development tool?

* In light of New York courts' deference to blight condemnations and economic underutilization arguments, is New York's current procedural framework for challenging those determinations adequate?

* Should those seeking change continue their legal strategies or shift their focus toward affecting changes in the administrative and legislative decision-making and approval processes?

* Why does New York have such a unique approach to eminent domain and should it be viewed by other states as a model or a warning?

Our Fordham University School of Law advisors, Sheila Foster, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law, and Aaron Saiger, Associate Professor of Law, helped us shape the direction of the Symposium. With additional support from Brian Glick, Clinical Professor of Law, and Carter Strickland, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Law, we reached out across the country to legal scholars, practicing attorneys, and non-legal professionals with extensive expertise in eminent domain, land use and urban policy, environmental, property, and local government. …