Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division
This eminent domain dispute involves a commercial property owned by BMIA, LLC in Belmar, New Jersey. BMIA has been fighting to keep its property (the “Belmar Mall”) from being condemned for a redevelopment project. The Belmar Mall is a commercial center that contains 20 mom and pop businesses along with three major chain tenants (Rite Aid, Curves for Women and West Marine). To ensure that condemnation of the property would be possible, Belmar conducted a study, which determined that the downtown property was “an area in need of redevelopment.” This designation was the first step in instituting eminent domain proceedings. The municipality’s “area in need” designation is based on a determination that .34 acres of the 15—acre site (or 2%) was in a state of blight. This case all-too-well highlights the injustices that property owners, including many small business owners, face when it comes to battling a local government’s liberal interpretation of blight.
Status: DECIDED. Motion to file amicus brief in support of BMIA granted on November 1, 2006. Amicus brief filed January 19, 2007. Oral argument scheduled for September 24, 2007. On February 4, 2008 the court ruled in favor of BMIA.