If it ain’t blight, don’t try to fix it

Law of the Land

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In the case City of Long Branch v. Anzalone, the city declared an entire neighborhood to be blighted and put a redevelopment plan in place. As part of the plan, a number of homeowners were notified that their homes would be condemned to make way for new buildings, and the homes were appraised by the city's contractors. The homeowners objected that the appraisals incorrectly described their homes and that the city's blanket declaration that the area or their homes were blighted, without providing specific facts supporting that designation, did not justify the condemnation of their homes under the New Jersey state constitution's blight and eminent domain provisions. The trial court, however, found in favor of the city. On appeal, the trial court's ruling was overturned. The appellate court held that the city could not take private property under a broad definition of blight without specifying and proving how each property's condition reflected or contributed to the area's ...