New York appeals court rejects Prattsburgh condemnation challenge

In a Memorandum and Order, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division-Fourth Department rejected a challenge by petitioners to overturn a decision by the Town of Prattsburgh to condemn land for the purpose of creating easements to bury underground power lines for a wind farm.

The case was brought under New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL) s. 207. Petitioners had challenged the Town Board’s decision to condemn the land claiming, among other things, that the Town Supervisor was impermissibly conflicted from voting on the issue. The court noted that the challengers should have brought that claim under Article 78 of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR).

The court found that the “petitioners failed to meet their burden of establishing that the Town Board’s determination was ‘without foundation and baseless'” [ciations omitted], and stated that:

Contrary to the contention of petitioners, a town board’s findings that condemnation for the purpose of creating easements would, inter alia, “create jobs, provide infrastructure, and possibly stimulate new private sector economic development” constitute an adequate basis for the town board’s determination that the condemnation would serve a public use or benefit. [citations omitted]

The case, In re Dudley et al v. Town Board of Town of Prattsburgh (1708 OP 08-01586, Feb. 6, 2009), is online here.

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