No “Temporary Taking” Of Private Property In Long Branch

by Joseph Grather / New Jersey Condemnation Law

On October 11, 2012, the Appellate Division issued an opinion affirming dismissal of a property owner’s temporary taking claim. Hoagland v. City of Long Branch (A-0358-11T2; A-1583-11T2).  Absent successful petition for certification, so ends another chapter in Long Branch’s long history of redevelopment.

Before getting to the opinion, it must be noted that the only private property along New Jersey’s beautiful Atlantic coast-line that did not appreciate over the past six decades were those areas clouded by government redevelopment efforts.   Those efforts by the way, allowed private redevelopers to grab at least half of Asbury Park’s shoreline during the real estate boom of the early to mid 2000?s, the City’s redevelopers ran out of money when the market dried-up.  So, what happened to the owners whose property was blighted and clouded by condemnation more than a decade?  They got their property “back.”  No harm no foul?  I guess in New Jersey its, ‘no blood, no foul.’

The redevelopers were allowed to abandon these takings in 2008, and the property owners could either walk away with their expenses paid, or file new temporary takings claims.  The Hoagland case explains why the latter alternative was the road that should not have been taken.

The property owners argued that the filing of a complaint lis pendens effected a taking of their property.  The trial court disagreed, as did the appellate court. (Slip op. at 7).  In most simple terms, since the City never filed a “Declaration of Taking” and paid the property owners’ expenses after it abandoned the takings, the property owners were not entitled to relief.

In order to prove a taking of private property, one must show that some action by an entity with the power of eminent domain substantially destroyed the beneficial use of the property.  The property owners contended that “their properties lost value and they were unable to sell or develop their properties until the condemnation actions were abandoned.   As the trial court found however, there is no factual support for these claims in the record.” (Slip op. at 13).

A sampling of the redevelopment history is seen from our prior blogs:

Originally published by New Jersey Condemnation Law; republished with permission

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