Columbia’s Manhattanville

Regulatory Taking andx Columbia University
Background

In June 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote upheld the use of eminent domain by the city of New London, CT. (Kelo vs. City of New London) by saying economic development was a public purpose thereby giving government the authority to acquire property, affirming decades of previous litigation on this issue. By the end of 2006 thirty-five states enacted eminent domain restrictions and related reform of “regulatory takingsâ€.x  In that year, three of the four takings measures on state ballots were rejected. Most notable was the way Oregon voters repealed a takings initiative, Measure 37.x  The defeat of California’s Prop 98 in 2007 signaled another setback for advocates of regulatory takings.x x x Often dubbed Kelo-plus and Kelo 3rd Round most of the initiatives seek compensation for lost value due to land-use regulation. To date only one effort in Arizona stimulated by Howard Rich, a New York real estate investor and “libertarian crusader†has succeeded.x x But the bottom line is basic.x  In most cases regulationx can be proven to increase value.x x In February 2008 the New York State Bar Association’sx task force completed its recommendations on thex use of eminent domain.x 

Community organizations throughout the country are raising money and filing proposed ballot initiatives with their state attorney general that prohibit use of eminent domain for transferring property from one private entity to another without added protections. The eminent domain debate in New York should examine its long history of condemnations for economic development.x  In this light and from a strictly legal point of view there are three areas rich with potential litigation including the use of referendum.x  These are the historical uses of eminent domain, the fairness of direct and indirect compensation, and targeting of low-income and minority populations.x  Unlike other states, the one most likely to succeed in New York will involve added protections to residential and business tenants in reassessing just compensation issues.

Would pursuing the “tenant†protection component yield valuable community economic development objectives?x  Hard to say, but both sides might be more recognizablex to the average research effort byx viewing: www.law.georgetown.edu/gelpi.x  This site helps to define hairline legal differences between “regulatory taking” and “eminent domain†in the proposed reforms of Oregon’s Measure 37.x  In this particular case, government becomes liable for attorney fees if court award is greater than initial government offer.x 

Headline: “Citizens call for reform of the reform.” Timothy Sandefur, Author of “Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America†www.instituteforjustice.orgx x …

This site has links to www.cato.org, Howard Rich is a board member (Cato).x  He likes how the term “property rights” strikes a cord among voters.x  They also have a hot selling t-shirt that reads, “blight meâ€. It all seems exquisitely hypocritical, but why?

Given the historically poor performance of government in protecting individuals in the short term for vague long term benefits, the public’s opinion can easily be brought to define Kelo as a decision that betrays them –x the small businessperson and working class residents, as well as, weakenx legitimate efforts to erase racially imposed economic disparities.x x  But, the dissent of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is probably best overall.

“Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner. . . . Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory. . . . The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.”

How Does this “big picture” Policy Fit Manhattanville?
What does it do to the design of a place?

How about seeing INTERNATIONAL HOUSE as an example (as outside chance)? Located at 500 Riverside Drive, 122nd Street) New York, NY 10027 www.ihouse-nyc.org x This is a stretch,x but Columbia offers a very nice “extra-large” apartment with private bathroom at $12,090/month and other less luxurious accommodations to full-time graduate students.x  They arex available only during thex academic year; undergraduates are welcome in the summer.x  Applications are requiredx if stays of 30 days or more are intended. x 

Columbia isx extending housingx privledges in orderx to acquire social capital within a tuition business.x  So, here is the thing, Barbara and Howard Rich are among many large real estate holders who are supporters of university sponsored Fulbright Scholarships and the programmed-education with housing market in New York City. Almost every university in New York City is a sponsor of this program as it brings in paying clients (students of all ages) to the fold. Via: www.metrointl.org .x  Suprise!x  This is a max hit zone is for housing such as the above. For Players see:www.metrointl.org/support/documents/2006FulbrightAwardsDinnerSupporters.pdf

Is there anyother way to look at the this? There must be a way…

APA Metro Prepares Testimony on Manhattanville zoningx 
or go straight to the CPC DEISx for some real fun reading…

Seex “group discussion” linkx under FirmsBack to: Community Designx  or Urban Design