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Westchester Creek Corp. v. New York City Sch. Constr. Auth.

Citation: 33 ELR 20009
No. No. 98, 774 N.E.2d 749/(N.Y., 07/09/2002)

The court holds that a school construction authority properly appropriated property being held by a redevelopment group in order for the authority to build a new school. The property is one of seven parcels that New York City leased to the redevelopment group in 1978 for 90 years under an urban renewal plan. The court first holds that despite the group's objections to the contrary, the school construction authority properly provided the mayor of the city with written notice of its intention to use the property. The court additionally holds that the prior public use doctrine does not bar condemnation of the property. While the state legislature has stated that urban redevelopment is a superior public use, it has also stated that there can be no higher priority than creating a physical environment in the schools that fosters rather than impedes the education of children. In this case, the school authority seeks to condemn the property in order to relieve two school districts from severe overcrowding. Moreover, while the state constitution gives the state legislature the power to establish urban renewal projects, it does not confer any protection on redevelopers against condemnation.

Counsel for Appellant
Gil Feder
Reed & Smith
599 Lexington Ave., 29th Fl., New York NY 10022
(212) 521-5400/826-2000

Counsel for Respondent
James G. Greilsheimer
Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley
405 Lexington Ave., New York NY 10174
(212) 885-5381