The city’s decision to drop its bid to use eminent domain in Willets Point to force property owners to sell brings the fight to develop this underused property back to Square 1.
We are on the record in our support for the redevelopment. At the moment, the property located next to Citi Field is an urban wasteland. It is time this property is put to better use for the benefit of everyone.
At the same time, we have shared our concern with the use of eminent domain in this situation. The law was never intended to allow government to hand private property over to commercial developers. It was designed for use when a private property stood in the way of the building of a courthouse or the completion of a highway.
Why the city changed its mind is not clear. Perhaps the city attorneys believed they stood a good chance of losing in court.
Michael Rikon, a lawyer representing the remaining property owners, argued in court that the $3 billion development planned by the city was not “public use.” He was elated when he heard the news. Hopefully, now he will work on getting his clients to negotiate with the city. If the city walks away from the redevelopment, everyone loses.
“We’re very close to having a deal in place that will transform Willets Point into New York City’s next great neighborhood and continue the historic progress we’ve already made there,” a spokeswoman for the mayor said.
We hope the businesses in Willets Point will agree to sell their properties for a profit. That would be in the best interest of all. The development will create hundreds of construction jobs and hundreds more permanent jobs.
Rikon should urge his clients to take the money and run.
New Jersey’s “tanning mom” is proof of just how dangerous tanning machines can be. Whether or not she ever allowed her daughter to use tanning beds, she did damage to her own skin.
It happens that May is Melanoma Awareness Month. The biggest danger for contracting melanoma is too much exposure to sunlight, but the tanning beds can also cause skin cancer.
The city should make it clear to the owners of tanning salons that they cannot allow customers to misuse their machines.
©2012 Community News Group
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