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  •   There is so much going on in the eminent domain world these days.  This time, in New Jersey. Recently we read that Palisades Park Borough officials are discussing acquisition of property by eminent domain for a new borough hall. If you are familiar with the area, it is the lot located on Fairview Street. Right now there is some activity going on, in the form of preliminary environmental testing of the land to be seized for the project, to ensure that there is no contamination of the land (this is New Jersey after all…sorry we are New Yorkers and are biased towards our home State). If there are any issues with the Phase I environmental testing, then soil samples would be taken to fully assess the condition. According to borough attorney John Schettino, the current property owner is in the process of obtaining an appraisal so that a price could be negotiated before the borough determines if they should forcibly acquire the property by eminent domain. We bet a lot hinders on the environmental study… Borough Administrator David Lorenzo commented that it a “very, very preliminary discussion” because the “piece of property came up and it was noted as being of interest.” Back in September, the council passed an ordinance making eminent domain a possible option to purchase the property. They also passed a bond in September for $5.2 million in case they need it to buy the land. This would be in order to construct a municipal building if and when decided upon. Other issues also need to be reviewed including traffic flow and emergency services. One issue that’s not on the table are tax increases. What is behind the eminent domain talks? Why is a new building needed? Lorenzo commented that the current building is getting older. “As the… town grows, we would not be responsible if we didn’t look into what the borough could be in the future. With a new building, we could include the police department, the fire department, the school board, the health department all at one location.” Another factor for the discussion, at this point, is that New Jersey Transit intends to build a light rail station in town near Fairview Street. It would have a parking lot to accommodate more than 200 cars from the railroad tracks to Grand Avenue. Mayor James Rotundo said that the state would be willing to work with Palisades to possibly build a parking structure in the area to help accommodate the cars. As with many projects, this could take months in planning and execution. Some residents are not happy about the plans and some say it’s all too ambitious.   They worry about the traffic and having all of the emergency services that would often encounter delays. At the very least, the old building needs improvements…but we’ll leave that for another post.

    07 Dec
    07 Dec
  • By Jennifer Polovetsky On Monday, November 20 th, 2017 · no Comments · In , , , ,

      Let’s just start off by saying that we don’t want to talk politics. We know exactly what happens when people talk about religion and politics. Especially, these days. So before we even start, know that we are not taking sides, just providing you with our weekly recipe of gossipy news, a touch of real estate, and a pinch of eminent domain. The other day, we read that the Trump Administration is hiring 12 attorneys to seize land for the border wall with Mexico. Their job will be to fight landowners so the government can seize the property needed to build the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. We would put in more details about how many people this will effect, what the costs will be, and how long it will take, but those details are not available yet. The administration said it aims to acquire “hundreds or thousands of parcels of land” to construct the border wall. If you’re a lawyer looking for a job, get those certifications ready and application pen out because there will be a whopping $2 million to hire 12 land acquisition attorneys at the Department of Justice. This is just for the “initial surge” of land seizures from holdout landowners who aren’t willing to part with their property on the government’s terms. In April, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee estimated the wall will cost $70 billion after making projections using CBP numbers and plans provided by the administration. Those numbers, however, didn’t include the legal costs of paying to seize the land. Government documents note that lawyers from the Department of Homeland Security will be contributing with “significant litigation support in defense of various challenges to the construction of the physical wall as well as in the condemnation of land along the southwest border.” It is estimated that approximately two-thirds of the land along the border is owned by private landowners or U.S. states. Since this is an eminent domain blog and you know how it goes, you know that usually the government evaluates the land and then offers a market rate price. (Of course, if you are in NY State then you should call Sanchez & Polovetsky to help you out. Shameless plug, we know…) If the property owners refuse, the government can seize the land, yup, by eminent domain, and then the landowners can fight for more compensation through the judicial system. The adventure has already begun! The government has restarted litigating several of these cases that have laid dormant for nearly a decade. For example, in Texas where 90 cases are still pending after the government moved to seize border land in 2007. It’s estimated that it will cost about $21 million to resolve the suits. We read that in one instance, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spent $78 million to get the land to build on just 211 miles of the southwest border, which took about 330 lawsuits. Just because there is no budget, doesn’t mean the work hasn’t been started. There are already five prototypes of the border wall shown near completion along the U.S.- Mexico border near San Diego, California. The first 74 miles of the border wall will cost approximately $1.6 billion, which has been requested by the President. If you remember, to get initial funding, back in October Trump said that the DACA program would be preserved if there was funding for the border wall.    

    20 Nov
    20 Nov
  • By Jennifer Polovetsky On Friday, November 10 th, 2017 · no Comments · In , , , ,

      We write this blog every week not only as a resource for those looking to be entertained and educated at the same time, but to also engage and have an emotional connection with our readers. Last week we pulled on heartstrings of childhood memories with a post about the home that once belonged to the author of the Purple Crayon children’s book.   This week we seek to make you nauseous (or maybe not) with the understanding that your future homebuyer might only like your client’s home (or your home) if it will get lots of likes on Instagram. We’re not making it up, only turning a serious story in the Wall Street Journal into a gossip styled post. We are serious! Apparently in Colorado, a broker waited an hour for his client to pick up her prized fake eyelashes from home so she can look her best on the “Colorado First Time Home Buyer” Facebook page. The competition is robust with more than 85,000 followers. Wait, it gets more intense. Thought that Instagram was just for someone’s mobile phone? Not when you’re spending the big bucks. According to the well respected WSJ, Millennials are celebrating the milestone of owning their first home. New door mat? A new plant for the landscaping? Buying a fine bottle of Champaign? NO! Too old school. Millennials are even hiring photographers to snap pictures of them fake dancing in the living room, playfully posing on the front steps and making heart-shaped hand poses around a new key. According to what we’ve read, there’s a photographer who said he was asked to Photoshop grass onto an unkempt lawn. Who needs to get rid of wrinkles when you can get rid of a nasty lawn! A nice lawn is not just reserved for the homeowners; it’s for the neighbors too. Then comes the reality that it’s time to update our thought process and not be so judgmental. These Millennials, people who are 36 years-old and younger were the largest group of home buyers. Yes, it’s true. They purchased 34 percent of the homes from July 2015 until June 2016. That amazing fact is from a report by the National Association of Realtors. Roughly two-thirds of those buyers were first-time buyers, according to the March report. Brokers are jumping on the bandwagon without a care. They are taking pictures of the new home buyers and sharing with friends and family on Facebook. Of course the friends of friends want a new home too, and there you have a new client! It’s a win-win…maybe.

    10 Nov
    10 Nov
  • By Jennifer Polovetsky On Monday, November 06 th, 2017 · no Comments · In , , , ,

      There is so much crazy news going on in real estate these days that we’ve decided to post something warm and fuzzy and free of negative drama. So when we heard the story of the group that’s trying to save the home of the author “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” we had to post it. And we love the story even more because the property being fought over happened to be purchased by the Queens Borough Public Library year with the intent of tearing the structure down and expanding the library. The story begins in the early 1900’s when David John Leisk, aka: Crockett Johnson, lived with his family at 104-11 39th Avenue in Corona. He went to elementary school and high school nearby, and lived in an apartment inside a white two-story Italianate house. That was before the 7 train was built and when the block was called Ferguson Street. Jump to 2013, and the library bought the home for $770,000 (according to public records). Amazingly, they didn’t know it was the home of the author. Since the sale, the building has been renting residences out to families, but plans were always in the works to eventually tear down the building and expand. The Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society, Inc. (CEEHPS) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, culturally inclusive organization dedicated to educating the public about the unique history and preserving the distinct character of the sister communities of Corona and East Elmhurst. CEEHPS, with help from local schools and other historical societies, is now hoping to save the house from the wrecking ball. This is a busy group, as they are working to landmark Dizzy Gillespie’s home and also the Dorie Miller Apartments. (We will save you the Google search – the Dorie Miller Apartments were the city’s first integrated co-op.) Just when you are sick and tired of the kids never getting off of their iPads, and of your friends and family members never putting their phones down, we’re here to tell you that attendance at the library in Corona is up. Attendance at the library, which was built in 1968, was more than 240,000 between June 2015 and June 2016. The current 8,000-square-feet just don’t seem to be enough to serve the community. CEEHPS members decided to launch a public letter-writing campaign this weekend to put the pressure on the library to keep the building. Their efforts have been quite creative and clever. Students are participating by writing a simple message — “Please save Harold’s house” — in purple crayon (Harold’s favorite way to dream up new worlds). Emails are also being sent to Walcott — in purple font. “What we’d like to see them do is connect it to the existing building and make it a children’s library. You could have a children’s meditation park in the backyard. There’s so many things that can be done with the building,” said Carol Drew, the group’s president. The power of the purple crayon lives on!

    06 Nov
    06 Nov
  • By Jennifer Polovetsky On Friday, October 27 th, 2017 · no Comments · In

    This week was a proud week for Sanchez & Polovetsky PLLC. First we were able to announce that both Jennifer Polovetsky and Philip Sanchez were named to the Super Lawyers list again (that’s 3 years in a row now–we are very honored!). Then we were able to announce some eminent domain news of own: we successfully doubled the eminent domain award initially offered to our client, a Bronx building owner, in connection with the appropriation of our client’s property by the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA).  You can read all about it here. The SCA case had been pending in Court for approximately 3.5 years before we  successfully negotiated a settlement with the SCA that was beneficial to our client. Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, we are able to confirm that the settlement was in an amount that was approximately double the initial eminent domain award offered to the client. By avoiding a long and drawn out trial of the matter, which was looming, we were able to obtain considerable amounts of money for our client, thereby saving a substantial amount of time and money  associated with eminent domain trials. The property, located in the Bronx, was acquired by the SCA through its powers of eminent domain on or about April 1, 2015. The property had been leased by the SCA and used as a school for many years before the eminent domain taking. The SCA intends to continue to use it as a school. In the end-we made our client whole and saved a lot of time and money. That’s why it’s important to speak with a solid legal team before making any eminent domain decisions.

    27 Oct
    27 Oct
  • By Jennifer Polovetsky On Monday, October 16 th, 2017 · no Comments · In , , , ,

    Ok we are just having a bit of fun and being giddy, since we’ve just heard that for the third year in a row the attorneys at Sanchez & Polovetsky PLLC have been selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers List for the New York Metro Area.  That’s right, we made it in 2015, 2016, and again in 2017! This is a big deal because each year no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Are you impressed now? Yes! Although the honor constitutes peer recognition in the legal profession, the selection is quite mathematical and scientific. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are also published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country (including the NYTimes). We’re spreading the news so feel free to congratulate us on Facebook too. Of course being selected for this list is a big honor, but the real satisfaction is knowing that the partners at Sanchez & Polovetsky have been recognized by their peers for helping so many small and family businesses. Far too often a business receives a notice about eminent domain and signs an agreement that puts an end to all of their hard work and the employment of those who live the local community. They didn’t know where to turn or who could help them. Knowing that the attorneys at the eminent domain firm that they hired brings a sense of comfort to our clients-they know they are in good hands. And that’s what is most important to us. The dynamic duo said it best: “It is gratifying to be recognized for our work in helping so many multi-generational family businesses and small businesses that make great contributions to the labor force and to society.  We strive to relieve the pressures of eminent domain and create new opportunities for our clients,” says Philip Sanchez, partner at Sanchez & Polovetsky PLLC.  “Super Lawyers is an elite industry group and we are honored to have been selected.” “We thank the Committee for selecting the attorneys at Sanchez & Polovetsky for the third consecutive year.  The New York Metro Area is where we work and live, and to be recognized by our peers for our efforts speaks volumes to our commitment and drive in serving the community at large,” says Jennifer Polovetsky, partner at Sanchez & Polovetsky PLLC.

    16 Oct
    16 Oct
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