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See some of Saul Fenchel's eminent domain articles covering various subjects in Eminent Domain Condemnation.

Can the government take property even where it especially benefits a private party?

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Yes, this was the subject of the Kelo case recently decided by the Supreme Court of the United States and the cases recently decided by the New York Court of Appeals.1

The fact that the property is designed to benefit certain special interests or may primarily benefit private interests does not invalidate a taking. Provided the taking agency can show that a public purpose or use can be accomplished, whatever the private benefits that may also result, the taking will be upheld by the courts.

1What constitutes a “public purpose” or “public use” has become a controversial subject especially in light of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Kelo v. The City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) where the Supreme Court of the United States confirmed a broad concept of what constitutes a public purpose as a basis for the exercise of the power of condemnation under the United States Constitution due process standards. The New York courts apply a similarly broad standard. See, Kaur v. UDC, 15 N.Y.3d 235, 907 N.Y.S.2d 122 (2010).

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