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Eminent Domain in the Spotlight

columbia university expansion renderingNew laws proposing to reform the State’s use of eminent domain may gain momentum should the Democrats achieve a majority in the Senate this fall, says the New York Sun. Eminent domain is a centerpiece of three very large development projects in New York City – Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, Willets Point in Queens, and Manhattanville in Manhattan.  MAS has testified on each of these developments, calling for an inclusive planning process in which the priorities of local residents and business owners are sought and considered. Controversies among these projects are numerous. The New York Times interviewed the remaining business owners in Manhattanville, the site of Columbia University’s proposed expansion, on the detrimental effects the threat of eminent domain has had on their livelihood. The New York Daily News reports that the NYC Economic Development Corporation is increasing its outreach to City Council members on the proposed Willets Point rezoning, as a majority of the Council has already publicly opposed the project. In other news, Chelsea Now reports from the first community hearing on the recently released scoping for the Hudson Yards development. Major concerns are view corridors along the High Line that will be blocked by new buildings. Design proposals for the West Side Boulevard, a park that is part of the Hudson Yards rezoning plan, will be on public display at the Center for Architecture during the month of October, after which a winner will be selected (New York Post; Curbed) New grates designed to mitigate flooding of the subway tunnels are being installed in Queens, the area most effected by the summer rains last August (New York Times) New York developers announce their presidential endorsements (New York Observer)