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

Can I oppose or seek judicial review of the taking?

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The Eminent Domain Procedure Law (“EDPL”) requires that public hearings be held by the condemning authority to review the proposed taking and the public purposes underlying the taking and its environmental impact. Almost invariably, these hearings will result in a determination authorizing the condemnation to proceed.

The EDPL provides for a judicial review for the determination and its environmental impacts. Unless there has been a serious procedural irregularity or it is shown that the taking is plainly not for a public purpose or it is shown that the government failed to properly consider all the environmental impacts, the court will not intervene and will confirm the government’s determination to take the property.

Once this determination is made (or affirmed by the Court), the condemnor will direct its attorney to proceed with the taking and to “vest” title.1 At this point, the property owner’s remedy is to obtain money (i.e. “just compensation”) for the taking of the property.

1The technical term to describe the moment when the government has legally taken title to the property is known as the “vesting” of title. The point of “vesting” is very significant since it is as of that date that the valuation of the property taken is determined. As described in this FAQ the point at which title “vests” depends on whether the property is being taken by the State or by one of the governmental subdivisions such as a county, city, village, town or governmental agency. In respect to the State, the title “vests” when it files the taking map. In respect to local governmental subdivisions, the title “vests” on the date that the taking agency files with the County Clerk the court order authorizing the taking with the taking map.

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