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New Jersey Transit Corporation v. Bobby Wholesale Distribution, Inc.

A-3533-00T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2002) (Unpublished)

CONDEMNATION— Public bodies are accorded broad discretion in determining the amount of land needed to accomplish the intended public purpose of a taking.

In a condemnation case, a property owner appealed a taking of its property for construction of a “park and ride” facility and wetland mitigation. Its basic complaint was that the “quantum of the taking was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, and that it was an entitled to an evidentiary hearing to so demonstrate.” The Appellate Division rejected the appeal saying, “[p]ublic bodies are accorded broad discretion in determining the quantum, location and time of taking of property for public purposes.” A court will not upset such discretion in the absence of an affirmative showing of fraud, bad faith or manifest abuse. Further, “in order to warrant an evidentiary hearing on a claim of manifest abuse, the condemnee must first make a prima facie showing of improper conduct. Here, according to the Court, no such prima facie showing was made. The property owner’s only contention was “that the condemnation would result in the loss of its business.”

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