New York Appellate Court Approves Eminent
Domain to Save Farmland
The Town of Brookhaven may use eminent domain to acquire farmland for the purposes of preserving it for farming and open space protection, according to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, on December 4, 2007. The farmland owner, Aspen Creek Estates, argued that the condemnation was not for a public purpose, because the town's true intent was to take the 112 acres of farmland in Manorville and lease the land to private farmers. But the court held that the condemnation had "dominant" public purposes and that the benefit to private individuals was merely "incidental." The court also held that a comprehensive plan as was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 ruling in Kelo v. New London to validate the use of eminent domain to take private property for another private party was not necessary because Brookhaven's public purpose was farmland and open space protection.