NJ Sports Authority Threatening to Take Municipal Landfill
The NJ Sports and Exposition Authority, which runs the Meadowlands’ Sports Complex; New Jersey’s horsetracks; and now the former New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (itself the successor to the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission); recently advised the Town of Kearny that it intends to seize the Keegan Landfill by eminent domain. It appears that NJSEA has been operating the landfill pursuant to a lease with the Town, which is set to expire June 30, 2016.
The NJSEA’s request to extend the lease was denied by the Town, as the town intends on utilizing the property for recreational purposes (assuming after its been properly capped, etc.). The town has already notified NJSEA that it must vacate the property as of that date.
According to a NJ.com article, the NJSEA collects Twenty -four million ($24,000,000.00) dollars a year in tipping fees at the Keegan Landfill and cannot make-up the budget shortfall without the tipping fee revenue. The town has vowed to fight the taking. Clearly, the State has the authority to take municipal property; and a landfill would appear to be a public use; but where is the State going to get the money to pay for the land? Our Constitution conditions the power of eminent domain on the payment of just compensation. Van Ness v. Deal Borough (1978).
No doubt this will turn into a classic Hudson County legal and political battle royal.
We’ll keep you posted.