We’ve been following the case of Home Depot vs. the Brick township, New Jersey, where local officials have been trying to block the building supply warehouse from coming into town by buying the land out from under them. According to the Asbury Park Press, town officials are now prepared to condemn the property to end a stalemate between the landowner and Brick over the price for the 10.5 acre parcel. A grocery store owns the site, but town officials say negotiations with Food Circus supermarkets have not advanced, leaving officials with the option of condemning the property before Home Depot comes to the Planning Board on August 13th. Home Depot wants to build a 104,695 s.f. store, but the town acquisition of the land, which is assessed at roughly $6 million, would end Home Depot’s bid. The Town Council hopes by circumventing Home Depot, that they can protect the Metedeconk watershed and turn the parcel into a center for the community. A group called Concerned Citizens for Brick told the newspaper that the Council’s efforts to stop Home Depot have been “incredible”. If the property owner is not satisfied with the price offered by the town, they can appeal the decision to court. But during this process, which could be lengthy, no Home Depot will be built. Eminent domain has not been used often by Brick, but in this case, citizens are encouraged that town officials would act decisively to stop the out-of-scale project. As one member of the citizen’s group said: “If Home Depot had been there, we could not have coexisted”.
For more background on the Brick case, and comments by local officials, search this data base by “Brick”. For similar stories, search by “eminent domain” or “condemn”. Eminent domain is usually a local power wielded by municipal officials against their own citizens. But in this case, its the developer who has had the tool turned against the sprawling project.