N.Y. Appellate Court Reverses Eminent Domain Acquisition of Land that Includes “Historic Indian Remains”

Here is the opinion in In re Courtland County.

An excerpt:

Petitioner argues that the taking should nevertheless be upheld on the alternative ground that it was exempt from the hearing requirements of EDPL article 2 because the taking was de minimis ( see EDPL 206[D] ). The fact that the amount of land is not substantial does not necessarily render a taking de minimis ( see Matter of Marshall v. Town of Pittsford, 105 A.D.2d 1140, 1140-1141 [1984], lv denied 64 N.Y.2d 606 [1985] ). Initially, we are reluctant to retroactively find compliance with the EDPL under the facts of this case where petitioner opted to attempt to pursue condemnation under a separate statute with different procedures. In any event, we are unpersuaded that this record supports a de minimis determination in light of the close proximity of the project to land with significant historic remains (there are two letters in the record from Native American groups articulating concerns), together with the fact that petitioner expanded the scope of the project from what was originally proposed and such expansion resulted in the State Office of Historic Preservation suspending its earlier approval.

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