Monday, October 29, 2007

New Downtown Brooklyn Eminent Domain Hearing on Monday

There's another hearing today on the use of eminent domain in Downtown Brooklyn, including the taking of the Underground Railroad House on Duffield Street that advocates believe should be preserved. The hearings were announced very quietly, in a small ad in the New York Post on October 17, and Duffield Street Underground blog says that owners of the buildings on Duffield Street weren't even notified. The hearing is taking place because the Department of Housing Preservation and Development withdrew its original eminent domain findings earlier this month. Opponents of the seizure of the Duffield Street buildings and of their demolition are taking the opportunity to hold a press conference at 9:30 AM, before the 10:00 AM hearing at City Tech Auditorium, which is located at Jay Street and Tillary in Downtown Brooklyn. The press event will include Congresswoman Yvette Clark, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, City Council Members Charles Barron and Letitia James as well as "over 50 community members, preservationists and Black historians." Here's a bit from the press release we got in on our email:
As a result of legal challenges by Downtown Brooklyn advocates, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development withdrew its eminent domain findings for Downtown Brooklyn earlier this month. The City’s withdrawal was an acknowledgment that it had no basis in the record for its use of eminent domain. This abuse of the powers of eminent domain would have proceeded if the City hadn’t been sued...HPD announced the new hearing in a small ad in the NY Post on October 17, 2007, yet they scheduled this new hearing without notifying the owners of the condemned properties.
The full press release is available at Duffield Street Underground and at No Land Grab.

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