Nicole Gelinas on Blight Condemnations in New York

Nicole Gelinas has an interesting article on the expansive use of “blight condemnations” in New York. As she points out, New York courts have defined blight so broadly that virtually any area can be designated as such, and then condemned. This has created massive opportunities for abuse by politically connected interest groups who can use eminent domain to get the government to take property they covet.

Gelinas has an extensive discussion of two famous recent New York blight condemnation cases: the Atlantic Yards case, and Columbia University’s efforts to acquire property through condemnation in Manhattanville. I have written about both extensively. See here for my analysis of the Atlantic Yards decision, and here for the Columbia case. Both posts include links to earlier cases.

Unfortunately, New York is far from the only state that defines blight broadly enough to justify the condemnation of almost any area. As I discuss here and here, numerous other states have similar laws. This enables many state legislatures to pretend that they have banned Kelo-style “economic development” condemnations even as they allow them to continue under the guise of alleviating blight.