From Their Front Porch, a Dim View of Eminent Domain


by Timothy Sandefur

The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger has this article about the seizure of Lil and Lou Anzalone's Long Branch home to make way for a $1 billion waterfront redevelopment project. Excerpt:

At age 89, the Anzalones are resigned to leaving and searching for a new place to live….

A decade ago, the city wrote to tell the Anzalones and their neighbors that their homes were located in an area it had deemed "in need of redevelopment." The area has become know as MTOTSA, an acronym for the streets that define it — Marine Terrace, Ocean Terrace and Seaview Avenue. The MTOTSA residents sued the city to stop the plans.

But earlier this month a Superior Court judge in Monmouth County ruled the city was within its rights to seize the properties. The decision will be appealed, but the Anzalones don't expect the result to change. How soon they don't know, but they expect to be forced out in the name of progress.

The city has offered to pay the Anzalones $304,000 for their house…. The offer the city has made to them was a 10 percent discount on the purchase price of a new condo, along with breaks on maintenance fees and property taxes…. If the Anzalones get $300,000 for their home and the condos sell for $800,000, less the discount, his 89-year-old parents, who live on Social Security checks alone, would need a $420,000 mortgage.

But hey, to make an omelet, you’ve gotta break a few eggs, eh?

(Read the rest…)