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Condemnation for Recreational Proposes Qualifies as a Public Use

The Appellate Division found that a condemnation proceeding under the Eminent Domain Law in order to enhance a golf course and for other recreational purposes was proper in the case Matter of Rocky Point Realty v Town of Brookhaven. The Court found that review of a condemnation proceeding is limited to four issues: “whether (1) the proceeding was in conformity with the federal and state constitutions, (2) the proposed acquisition was within the condemnor’s statutory jurisdiction or authority, (3) the condemnor’s determinations and findings were made in accordance with procedures set forth in EDPL article 2 and SEQRA, and (4) a public use, benefit or purpose will be served by the proposed acquisition…”.

The property owner’s contention that EDPL 202, which requires that the purpose of the hearing conducted by the Town be stated in the notice, also mandates a description of every aspect of the project and its implementation was rejected by the Court. It was held that the proposed condemnation would serve a legitimate public purpose by enhancing recreation in the Town and therefore met the test of being a “public use”.

Finally, the Court noted that the Town complied with SEQRA. It found that, as the EAF failed to identify any potential adverse impacts and the petitioner failed to identify any significant potential for environmental harm, the Town took the requisite hard look and properly issued a negative declaration.