Posts Tagged ‘eminent domain’

The Role of Eminent Domain in the Train Station Revelopment Plan

Economics is all about the choices humans make and in the aggregate human societies (micro economics and macro economics).  Negotiating can be thought of as a specific case of micro economics closely linked to the core concepts of marginal utility and marginal value.  Therefore, Reinvent Trenton is taking this opportunity to explain basic concepts in negotiation and the role of eminent domain in them. Read the rest of this entry »

Eminent Domain needs citizen approval and the Trenton Downtowner are sponsoring a quick poll to gauge public opinion on eminent domain. This is the first chance Trentonians have had to make their voice heard on this subject.

Vote on Eminent Domain

You can vote at:

I’ve said many times that the use of eminent domain is a matter of principle. While I consider forcing a property owner to sell a producing property to be unprincipled, I may very well be in the minority.

The Supreme Court has found state law governing eminent domain to be constitutional but in no way does that make it right. For instance, abortion is constitutional, but many people think it’s wrong. Drilling for offshore oil could become legal but plenty of people take a principled view that its wrong as well. On both the left and right we can have principled opinions that differ with the law. This is why we vote and enact laws, otherwise the judiciary makes rules for us.

Citizens need to vote on eminent domain either directly or through their representatives. Some towns may chose to allow their government to force sales of property to developers while others may decide to more tightly restrict government power. Trenton’s citizens must make a conscious decision on the relationship between property rights and government power.

Our city council could enact an ordinance banning or limiting the practice. Or they could choose not to. Either way the people should be heard and council should actively reflect the opinion of Trentonians, not the Supreme Court or developers.

The Train Station Redevelopment Plan

If you’re a Trenton watcher and haven’t been living in a cave, then you’ve noticed our shiny new $60M train station. The Trenton train station is unique along the Northeast corridor in that not only is it the 6th busiest station but it has both Amtrak, NJ Transit, NJ Light Rail and Septa carriage.

Every day hundreds of people from mainly outside Trenton travel through our station. They typically spend as little time in Trenton as possible.

The city is proposing to change that.

It is leveraging a generous state tax incentive to encourage commercial development around urban NJ’s train stations. I have to say, I’m for the tax incentive. The state and federal government have spent $Billions over the year building roads to increase sprawl, it’s good to finally put some balance in the equation.

With the incentive behind it, the city has courted three developers to build three seperate large projects immediately adjacent to the station. I think this is great and can’t see any downside. I even support demolishing the historic-ish building on the north side of Greenwood Ave. to make way for the building.

However,there are two big questions that come to mind as I review the current version of the city’s development plan for the area and come away from tonight’s (6/25) public meeting on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »