Our first installment in this series on condemnation procedures detailed a key element of the process found in the New York Eminent Domain Procedure Law (“EDPL”) – the public hearing. While the condemnation process generally begins with a public hearing, the EDPL provides exemptions that allow the condemnor to bypass the public hearing requirement under certain circumstances.
As we discussed previously, the purpose of holding a public hearing is to inform the public of the details of a proposed project, to review the public use to be served, and to review the impacts of the project on the environment and on the residents of the locality where the project will be constructed. Where a public hearing considering the above listed factors was held to comply with another law, that public hearing may be used to satisfy the EDPL Article 2 hearing requirement and alleviate the condemnor’s need to hold another public hearing.
A separate exemption covers situations where a condemnor is required to submit information concerning the above factors to another governmental agency, board or commission prior to the acquisition of a license, permit, certificate of public convenience or necessity, or other similar approval. Similarly, a condemnor may be exempt from the public hearing requirement if it previously obtained a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need pursuant to the Public Service Law. Finally, de minimis takings or takings necessary to address an emergency may be exempt from the public hearing requirements.
Our next installment in this series will discuss the use of eminent domain for economic development.
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