Burcat Featured in Article on Seizing Private Property For Economic Development

Burcat Featured in Article on Seizing Private Property For Economic Development

"Cities May Seize Private Property For Economic Development", Lawyers Weekly USA

July 4, 2005

Joel R. Burcat, a Partner in the Harrisburg office and Chair of the Environment, Energy and Utilities Department, is quoted in this article about the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that local governments may seize private property for public use even where the sole purpose is economic development. The article focuses on a case in New London, Connecticut where property owners challenged the city's plan to revitalize its economy by using eminent domain to take several properties as part of the development.

Mr. Burcat said the decision expands on prior holdings.

"This is an unequivocal statement that economic development is an adequate justification for the taking of private property. Traditionally, to be considered a 'public use,' the land had to be slated for a highway, a military base, a park or something similar. While the court has talked about 'public purposes' over the years, this case very clearly converts the language from 'public use' to 'public purpose."