Court Rules State May Seize Private Land For Columbia Campus Development
July 1, 2010 by Special To Personal Liberty
A New York court has ruled in a controversial case to allow the state to take over private land for the purpose of allowing Columbia University to expand its campus into the Harlem neighborhood, according to media reports.
The ruling overturned a decision by the Appellate Division from December 2009, and will allow the state to take advantage of eminent domain so Columbia can build 16 new buildings in West Harlem that will house classrooms, research facilities and student and faculty. Eminent domain allows authorities to seize land when its use can be justified as serving public good.
However, since 2005 some 43 states have tightened the requirements for eminent domain use, although New York has not, according to The New York Times.
The news source cited Norman Siegel, who represented the affected property owners, as saying he was "extremely disappointed" and promising to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Columbia claims the neighborhood was "blighted" and that its $6.3 billion construction project will create at least 14,000 temporary and 6,000 permanent jobs, Reuters reports.