[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 2160. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Whereas, on June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case of Kelo v. City of New London in which a majority of the Court determined, among other things, that the "public purpose" provision of the United States Constitution should be broadly interpreted to effectuate legislative judgments as to what particular needs justify the use of the power of eminent domain; and
Whereas, the result of the Kelo decision was a plurality decision, reflecting the Court's deep division on the question presented, namely whether private residential real property may be the subject of eminent domain in order to satisfy a public purpose such as a planned development; and
Whereas, the result of the Kelo decision was that, where there existed a comprehensive plan of development that is deemed to satisfy the public purpose provision of the Constitution, even though the "motivation" for the plan might be economic development, municipalities could use the eminent domain power to achieve the desired end as long as all parties' legal rights were established in the process; and
Whereas, the Kelo majority opinion specifically emphasized that nothing in the decision should preclude a state from placing further restrictions on the takings power; and
Whereas, one of the issues faced by the Court was the appropriate line between public and private property use; and
Whereas, under the settled law of the State of New Jersey, the limitless sovereign power of the state may be employed to take real property as may be required for public safety, necessity, convenience or welfare so long as just compensation is paid the owner, but it is for the legislative branch of the government to determine what constitutes a public use as to limit that broad power, with the result that the power is to be used in a reasonable, nonarbitrary manner and not greater than necessary to effectuate the public use; and
Whereas, the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights believes that one of the primary purposes of government is to protect the rights of owners of residential real properties within the Borough against governmental takings that do not have, as their goal, either:
The transfer of private property to public ownership for the creation of, for example, a road, hospital or military base; or
The transfer of private property to private owners for the specific purpose of making the same available for public use (e.g., railroad, public utility or stadium) resulting in enhancement of quality of life and promotion of the general welfare of the residents of Hasbrouck Heights.
Be it ordained by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights, County of Bergen, State of New Jersey, that the Borough shall not employ the power of eminent domain so as to deprive owners of residential real properties of such ownership rights in the absence of a specified purpose:
To transfer the property to public ownership for the creation of a public use, including but not limited to a road, hospital, military base, sewer, waterline, sidewalk, right-of-way, flood control, park, open space, erosion control mechanism and the like; or
To transfer the property to private owners for the specific purpose of making the same available for public use.