Bushwick condemnation approved

City sought to acquire West Bushwick properties in phases. In 2001, the West Bushwick Urban Renewal Plan was approved by the Planning Commission, the City Council and the Mayor. In April 2003 the City began condemnation proceedings for phase one, filing a petition to acquire one lot. In October of 2004, the City began phase two, filing to acquire 18 lots. Owners of the lots challenged the petition, claiming that the City failed to follow procedures required under ULURP and the State eminent domain law. The residents further claimed that the City had abandoned the Plan because it had not condemned the properties within three years of approval as required by the eminent domain law.

Justice Abraham Gerges rejected the owners’ claims and approved the City’s condemnation. Justice Gerges found that the City met its responsibilities under ULURP, the State urban renewal laws and the eminent domain law. The court ruled that the owners’ procedural claim should have been raised within four months of final approval in 2001, and not in 2004. Finally, the court ruled that the City was exempt from the three-year requirement because it was acquiring the Urban Renewal Plan properties in phases. The City had ten years to implement the Plan so long as it began condemnation proceedings for a phase within three years.

In re City of New York ex. rel.West Bushwick Urban Renewal Area, 2005 N.Y. Slip Op 50195U, Feb. 17, 2005 (Kings Cty.Sup.Ct.)(Gerges, J.).

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