Eminent Domain A Possibility In New Haven Redevelopment

The City of New Haven acquired several properties using eminent domain as part of the Ninth Square redevelopment in the 90s.

The Chairman of the Redevelopment Agency wants the city to take the same approach to revitalize other New Haven neighborhoods.

“That would be an excellent idea, ok because like I said, this right here is eyesore,” Gary Woodson said, pointing to a boarded up home.

Woodson said it is frustrating to walk by rundown properties in his neighborhood near Whalley Avenue.

“If a landlord can’t keep their property up, ok they don’t need it, that’s all, they don’t need it,” Woodson said. “They should get it taken away from them.”

“Minor city ordinances, minor fines are not going to stop a landlord who is making money by running down a property,” said Brian McGrath, the city’s acting chairman of the Redevelopment Agency.

When an owner refuses to sell at fair market value, McGrath wants the Redevelopment Agency to bring back the power of eminent domain to take over underdeveloped properties, like boarded up buildings and empty lots.

“I don’t believe that any properties are going to be taken without the neighborhood support,” McGrath said.

McGrath wants to try this plan in the Chapel West, Whalley and Dwight neighborhoods, which all have elected bodies representing the people who live there. He said the agency would work with them to identify properties that are neglected or a nuisance.

“If they want to fix a particular bad, blighted sight in their neighborhood, they would have this tool, the city would have this tool,” McGrath said.

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