Eminent Domain Battle Heats Up in Kensington

July 5, 2013 – In The News
NBC Philadelphia

David Snyder was quoted in the NBC Philadelphia article "Eminent Domain Battle Heats Up in Kensington." While the full text can be found in the July 5, 2013, issue of NBC Philadelphia, a synopsis is noted below.

Some Kensington residents are fighting the City of Philadelphia after being informed in December that their properties would be taken by eminent domain, which allows the government to seize private property for public use, with just compensation.

One major complaint in the battle is that property owners under Pennsylvania eminent domain law are afforded only 30 days to contest a seizure.

“The problem you run into is if you’re not prepared when the declaration of taking is filed, 30 days is not a lot of time,” David Snyder said. “You have to find a lawyer; you may not know anything about the project, so if you’re going to challenge it you have to learn about it to see whether it’s defective or not for eminent domain purposes. It’s a really tough thing for a property owner who has never been through the process to make a determination within 30 days of whether or not they want to challenge a taking.”

“Whether it’s a home or a business, property rights are really important to our culture and it can be a very emotional thing for someone to go through when someone tells them that they have to give up their property,” said Snyder.

“The city of Philadelphia had a rush at the end of 2012 to make sure they got all of their blight eminent domain cases filed so that they wouldn’t fall within the new, somewhat more restrictive criteria or requirements for establishing blight,” Snyder said. “It’s not a shady practice; it’s what the law permitted.”