NULLA group of 13 residential property owners, in Long Branch, won a six-year court battle to keep their homes from being condemned by the city administration, reaching a settlement with the city early last week.
The city of Long Branch had sought to use eminent domain to declare the beachfront neighborhood as blighted and redevelop it.
The settlement Âis evident of a trend going on in New Jersey, where municipalities have to prove blight by substantial credible evidence,Â said William J. Ward, a principal at Carlin & Ward, who represented the property owners, along with two other firms.
Encouraging the settlement was an August 2008 ruling by the New Jersey Appellate Division that reversed an earlier court ruling that allowed Long Branch to condemn the neighborhood, Ward said.