[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westville 9-10-2008 by Ord. No. 08-08. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westville will not, and henceforth cannot, use the power of eminent domain to forcibly take any parcel of real estate containing a legally permitted and currently utilized residential use (i.e., an occupied residential dwelling or dwelling unit being utilized as a residence at the time of the attempted taking not identified as a "problem property" as described in § 33-5), with or without fair compensation, for the purposes of economic development and/or to make such property available to another private real estate developer to facilitate a better use for said property in the supposed interest of the Borough of Westville.
Nothing herein shall be construed to remove or otherwise limit the preexisting and currently existing power of the Borough of Westville to use the power of eminent domain where necessary to promote a true direct public purpose such as the erection of a government-owned public school, hospital, roadway, public utility, public right-of-way easement, water and sewer easement or other such true public purpose other than economic development or redevelopment.
Nothing herein should be construed to restrict or limit the otherwise recognized powers of the Borough of Westville with regard to nonresidential properties containing no occupied residential dwelling or dwelling unit, abandoned properties, legally condemned properties, or properties which are not legally allowed to contain a residential dwelling or dwelling unit pursuant to the presently existing laws regarding zoning, occupancy, general housing or living conditions or overall land use and land regulation, and nothing herein shall be construed to limit or negate the enforceability or continued authority of such laws. Nevertheless, for a residential dwelling or residential dwelling unit within the Borough of Westville to be considered unoccupied and thus outside the protection of this chapter with regard to the limitation of the powers of local eminent domain, said dwelling or dwelling unit must be unoccupied for a period of at least 90 days.
In all redevelopment issues regarding property acquisition it shall be the responsibility of the Borough of Westville or any of its elected officials or agents to discuss and negotiate with owners of residential dwellings or dwelling units within the Borough of Westville, as to proposed voluntary sales or transfers of lands, or proposed alternate uses of said property, for the purpose of advancing positive economic development within the Borough of Westville, nor shall such voluntary agreements as may be reached with any such owners, for such compensation as any such owners may voluntarily deem sufficient, be considered to be in violation of this chapter.
Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the use of eminent domain in cases where the property can be identified and classified as a "problem property" as per the definition contained in § 33-6 of this chapter.
A problem property is defined as a property where enforcement action has been taken against the owner of any residential property in relation to Chapter 258, Property Maintenance; Chapter 272, Rental Property; Chapter 197, Housing Standards; Chapter 400, Nuisances, Public Health; Chapter 318, Solid Waste; or Chapter 205, Land Use and Development, and there has been adjudication or finding by an appropriate authority that the property owner was, in fact, in violation of one (or more) of the above-mentioned ordinances on, at a minimum, of two separate occasions within three years.
There shall be a committee appointed by the Mayor that will review all appropriate information relating to a property as stated above, and said committee shall determine if a property shall be declared a problem property and not subject to the protections of this chapter. The committee can include in its deliberations the seriousness of any violations adjudicated above and may disregard violations that they consider de minimis in nature.