February 07, 2006


In many ways, Long Branch is the perfect storm of the Kelo era: a misleading master plan, an unprecedented exception from state environmental regulation, shifting redevelopment zones, a developer jailed for corruption, a lawyer working both sides of the deal. New Jersey residents are particularly vulnerable to this kind of forced redevelopment. As the Institute for Justice's Scott Bullock explains, the prime targets for developers are typically low to middle-income communities with waterfront homes within commuting distance of a major city. New Jersey is essentially two giant suburbs--of New York and Philadelphia--with an enormous coastline, as well as numerous interior rivers. That's why there are redevelopment clashes shaping up all along Ocean Avenue--in Belmar, Neptune, Asbury Park, and other towns. Currently 64 municipalities in New Jersey are pursuing redevelopment through the power of eminent domain, with developers trying to seize homes everywhere from Camden to Stanhope.