The City of Trenton is all in a huff over eminent domain these days. See Tim Duggan’s post from Wednesday. On December 16, 2005, Ed and Antoinette Shelton defeated in court the City of Trenton’s first attempt at amending the Champale Redevelopment Area to include their properties and designating such lands for acquisition. Now, after having gone through the process of designating the Sheltons’ lands for redevelopment a second time, City Council has become a little skittish about authorizing the use of condemnation to take them.
According to Mrs. Shelton, as reported in the October 4th edition of the Trenton Times, four council members in the past have expressed reservations about using eminent domain for K. Hovnanian’s proposed 84-unit condominium complex known as the Villages at Delaware Run. At least one councilman, Jim Coston, has continued to buck K. Hovnanian’s redevelopment effort due to, apparently, the City’s and K. Hovnanian’s less-than-satisfying approach in their attempts at acquiring the subject properties. Indeed, The Times reported in the October 4th news story, among other things, that "Coston complained" about the administration’s failure to "sen[d] the property owners letters about the the [C]ity’s intentions" regarding eminent domain, forcing property owners "to learn about it through a local newspaper."
City Council is expected to vote on proposed ordinances giving the City of Trenton authority to take the Sheltons’ property and others by eminent domain at its meeting on October 10, 2006.