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Eminent Domain Case Remanded to District Court on Notice Issue

On December 5, 2005 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case of Brody v. Village of Port Chester back to the District Court on the issue of whether Brody had actual notice of the proceedings and procedures under New York Eminent Domain Procedure Law (“EDPL”) before his property was condemned by the Village. In a case that has been bouncing between the District Court and Second Circuit Court of Appeals since the year 2000, the Second Circuit ruled that the EDPL’s procedure for determining whether a decision to condemn property for public use met constitutional muster. However, the Court determined that the notice provisions that existed prior to 2004 were flawed in that they failed to provide notice of the thirty day time limit for challenging a determination that the purpose of a condemnation was for a public use.

On its face the decision would appear to be limited to the facts of this case, as the Court noted the statute, as subsequently amended in 2004, now meets constitutional due process requirements. Yet, the decision of the Court raises interesting issues for other municipal land use determinations. The Court held “the notice sent to affected property owners must make some conspicuous mention of the commencement of the thirty-day review period to satisfy due process”. Does this mean that other land use determinations that implicate property rights must also contain notice of the commencement of a short statute of limitations in addition to the notice of decision required by statute?

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