The Fourth Department, annulling the determination to condemn real property, over an extensive dissent, held that the purpose for the condemnation was not “commercial” as required by the statutes authorizing condemnation by the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA):
Petitioners commenced this original proceeding pursuant to EDPL [Eminent Domain Procedure Law] 207 seeking to annul the determination of respondent Oneida County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) to condemn certain real property by eminent domain. Pursuant to EDPL 207 (C), this Court “shall either confirm or reject the condemnor’s determination and findings.” Our scope of review is limited to “whether (1) the proceeding was constitutionally sound; (2) the condemnor had the requisite authority; (3) its determination complied with [the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)] and EDPL article 2; and (4) the acquisition will serve a public use” … .
… OCIDA lacked the requisite authority to acquire the subject property. As an industrial development agency, OCIDA’s statutory purposes are … to “promote, develop, encourage and assist in the acquiring . . . [of] . . . commercial . . . facilities” (General Municipal Law § 858). OCIDA’s powers of eminent domain are restricted by General Municipal Law § 858 (4), which provides, in relevant part, that an industrial development agency shall have the power “[t]o acquire by purchase, grant, lease, gift, pursuant to the provisions of the eminent domain procedure law, or otherwise and to use, real property . . . therein necessary for its corporate purposes.” The purposes enumerated in the statute do not include projects related to hospital or healthcare-related facilities (see § 858). While OCIDA’s determination and findings indicate that the subject property was to be acquired for use as a surface parking lot, the record establishes that, contrary to respondents’ assertion, the primary purpose of the acquisition was not a commercial purpose. Rather, the property was to be acquired because it was a necessary component of a larger hospital and healthcare facility project. Matter of Bowers Dev., LLC v Oneida County Indus. Dev. Agency, 2022 NY Slip Op 07327, Fourth Dept 12-23-22
Practice Point: If the purpose for the condemnation of real property does not comply with the purposes allowed by the controlling states, the determination to condemn the property will be annulled by the courts.