The Environmental Rights Amendment: Additional Ammunition in Challenging a Proposed Condemnation

The new Environmental Rights Amendment was adopted on November 2, 2021.  The amendment adds Section 19 to Article I of the New York State Constitution and provides, “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and to a healthful environment.”  The amendment is effective January 2022. The Environmental Rights Amendment is part of Article I, the New York Bill of Rights. As set forth in a blog, “E2 Law Blog” written by David Mandelbaum, Esq. and Steven C. Russo, Esq. on November 8, 2021, the Bill of… read more

Posted in Challenges to Condemnation, EDPL Sec. 207, Environmental Rights Amendment, SEQRA
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Prior Takings as Creating Collateral Estoppel – Not So Fast!

What happens when property was condemned and the condemnor raises its ugly head to condemn again at a later time?  It happened once upon a time in Queens.  In 1979, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) acquired an easement for the purpose of routing a New York City Subway tunnel through a portion of 26-29 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City.  The parcel was vacant land and consisted of 130,293 square feet.  The property was owned by Peerless Weighing and Vending Machine Corp.  Now, a separate blog can be written about Peerless. … read more

Posted in Collateral Estoppel, Highest and Best Use, Partial Takings
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Don’t Touch That Tree! Tree Mitigation Regulations May Constitute a Dolan Taking

Professor Robert Thomas in his indispensable blog “inversecondemnation.com” reports that U.S. Court of Appeals’ Opinion in F.P. Development, LLC v Charter TWP of Canton, No. 20-1147 (Oct. 3, 2021) in which the Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the property owner on its unconstitutional conditions taking claim. The Township had a tree ordinance which prohibits property owners from removing trees on their land without the Town’s permission, and also requires owners to either replace any trees removed or pay between $300 – $450 into the tree… read more

Posted in Dolan Taking, Tree Mitigation, Tree Regulation
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Don’t Trust Your Appraisal? Don’t Worry, Neither Does Your Appraiser.

How strong is the residential market? Well, according to people looking to buy and folks looking to sell, very strong.  In fact, many residential properties put on the market sell for more than the listing price.  Indeed, many times there are bidding wars.  All this is fine until the winner of the war applies for a mortgage. The gulf between contract prices and appraised values highlights the risks to buyers in the current market, especially those stretching their budgets to win a bidding war.  Mortgage lenders will typically lend only… read more

Posted in Appraisal, Bidding War, Fair Market Value
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Black Family Receives Back Land Stolen by Racism

On August 5, 2021, we wrote about “Bruce’s Beach” in Manhattan Beach, California. The blog stated that “It was a destination where black tourists could swim, dance, eat and rest. The City claimed that it needed the property for a public park, but left it undeveloped. Manhattan Beach has been grappling with the history of Bruce’s Beach for years. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to begin the process of transferring the property to the descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce.  Returning Bruce’s Beach to the family… read more

Posted in Bruce's Beach
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Recent Purchase Sinks a Tax Assessment Reduction Try

Thanks to Daniel Sciannemeo, MAI for providing a recent decision by the Honorable E. Loren Williams (Westchester Supreme Court) in Cedar Manor Acquisition LLC v The Assessor of the Town of Ossining.  (Index No. 62538/2020; Filed 9/28/21). In a well written decision, Justice Williams discussed the effort to reduce the taxes on property which was a nursing home business enterprise.  The property sold for $23,715,000 which included the purchase price of the real estate and the business enterprise.  The transfer tax form filed with the County Clerk indicated that the… read more

Posted in Burden of Proof, Real Estate Assessments, Recent Purchase Price
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Las Vegas Crap Shot Turns into An Inverse Taking

Las Vegas was slammed for its action which prevented a developer from pursuing housing plans on a defunct golf course.  The Clark County District Court held that the City’s actions were tantamount to the City taking the property. Kermitt Waters, Esq., owner’s counsel of America attorney for the State of Nevada represented the plaintiff-developer.  The estimated damages could be as much as $1 billion. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (September 30, 2021), efforts to develop the golf course began after EHB purchased the land in 2015.  Plans were opposed… read more

Posted in Categorical Taking, Inverse Condemnation
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The Infrastructure Fund: Will Critical Projects Ever Be Built?

The infrastructure bill that could move critical projects has stalled over funding.  For years there has been a backlog of needed repairs and upgrades to highways, bridges and roads.  An infusion of $600 billion in new federal aid could change the status in President Biden’s unprecedented overhaul of the Country’s aging public works system.  There is a sprawling $1 trillion infrastructure package whose future is uncertain. Will the funding be available?  According to the New York Times, the measure’s fate is in limbo as various factions of the Democratic Party… read more

Posted in Condemnation, Infrastructure Projects
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The Three Forms of Takings for Eminent Domain

The National Law Review had a brilliant article on the forms of takings in eminent domain.  (September 23, 2021, Vol. XI, Number 266) The simplest to describe and the most common is a physical taking.   Physical takings are the straight forward process of a government or other entity with the power of eminent domain. The second type is a regulatory taking.  This means the economic input factor comparing value that has been taken and the value which remains post-regulatory taking.  Regulatory takings are commonly called inverse condemnation. The third is… read more

Posted in Physical Taking, Pro Tanto Taking, Regulatory Taking
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Matter of City of New York (Eman Realty Corp.) – Whatever Happened to the Rule of Highest and Best Use?

The City of New York condemned a multifamily building in Brooklyn.  The property was subject to rent stabilization and both experts found the highest and best use was for continued use as a multifamily dwelling complex.  Both appraisers used the sales comparison (market) approach to valuation.  Then the valuation process went screwy.  The City made a massive deduction for alleged critical repairs on the subject property and applied an Akerson format capitalization formula which accounts for both the cost and availability of mortgage financing.  An approach never used in valuing… read more

Posted in Highest and Best Use, Measure of Damages, Reasonable Probability of Use
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