CT city council moves ahead with eminent domain plan to make way for magnet school0
As government use of eminent domain loses popularity, a southern Connecticut city council has decided to take over a small properties with the help of an eminent domain attorney. The West Haven city council recently agreed to advance the eminent domain process to acquire four properties for the construction of a New Haven magnet school, the New Have Register reported.
City government officials plan to exercise eminent domain rights for what is expected to be the future home of the Engineering and Science University Interdistrict Magnet School, which currently exists in New Haven and Hamden locations. The building project involves collaboration between West Haven, New Haven and the University of New Haven.
Magnet school officials say they are confident the city of West Haven will be able to acquire the four properties under eminent domain before the end of the year, which should make way for construction to begin by June of next year.
Ninety-five percent of the project is being paid for through state funds, while the city of New Haven will pay 5 percent. ESUMS is seeking that specific area in West Haven because of its proximity to UNH, as students of both institutions will work together and ESUMS students will have the chance to take college courses.
At ESUMS’ urging, the council last month allowed early eminent domain steps to be taken for four remaining pieces of land, which required Yolen to negotiate with land owners on behalf of West Haven. But deals on these four inactive parcels, which includes three commercial plots and one residential piece, were not reached.
New Haven will pay for all eminent domain lawyer costs and any future legal expenses, Yolen said. Council members said they want to ensure that West Haven will bear no cost for the entire project.
Some council members said they supported the idea, but still had questions. Member David Forsyth, as well as John Lewis and James O’Brien, said they worry about having enough parking at the school. Principal Medria Blue-Ellis said there would be parking only for teachers, adding that students would not be allowed to drive to school and events would be held when UNH parking could be utilized.