It’s the oldest wheeze in the redevelopment game that the particular redelopment project du jour will revitalize the community, bringing prosperity, jobs, higher taxes and just about every other municipal goodie, with the possible exception of good sex (and, if you listen to the project’s promoters, maybe even that too). But what happens in reality? Apart from unintended redevelopment project failures, is the condemning agency obligated to live up to those plans? Actually, the answer is, “No.” Those plans need not be followed, so that after taking the land in question, the agency is free to do whatever it wants with it. It can devote it to uses that have nothing to do with those that were solemnly presented to the courts as the “public use’ justifying the taking. In fact, the agency can simply change its mind and sell the taken land for private uses. There is even case law allowing the agency to keep the land where it had no intention of devoting the taken land to the uses that were presented to the courts as the object of the taking.
Read all about it in an article that was just published in The Urban Lawyer, an ABA publication, See Gideon Kanner, We Don’t Have to Follow Any Stinkin’ Planning — Sorry About that, Justice Stevens, 39. Urban Lawyer 529, No. 3 (Summer 2007).
Read it and let us know what you think.