WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — West Haven Mayor Edward O’Brien will sit down with the last two property owners who have not reached a deal with a mall developer to sell their properties. The meeting comes after the City Council gave the Mayor the go-ahead to use eminent domain to take those remaining properties.
The Citgo station at 62 Elm Street is one of the two remaining properties not agreeing to sell to the developer. That leaves two houses a couple blocks down First Avenue as the only other property left.
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Just before last night’s council meeting, the owner of Nick’s Luncheonette, located at 423 First Avenue, did come to terms, according to the New Haven Register.
A total of 57 properties had to be acquired and consolidated for the project known as ‘The Havens’ to proceed. The idea is to bring a high-end outlet mall to the banks of New Haven harbor.
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The City Council met last night one more time to hear from people on both sides of the eminent domain issue. Those in favor of the mall say it will bring thousands of shoppers and hundreds of jobs to West Haven. It sounds great, unless, of course, it’s your house they want to knock down to build it.
“The main thing right here is we can’t let an opportunity like this slip through the cracks we need this,” a concerned resident said at last night’s meeting.
“If you had to go to bed every night and wake up and wonder whether you’re going to be pushed out of your house it’s not going to be such a great opportunity then,” said another resident on the other side of the debate.
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Despite that argument, the West Haven City Council voted 12-0 to approve the use of eminent domain. The Mayor says that is a last resort, and he is going to sit down with those two holdout property owners one more time today to try to work out a deal.
Ever since the landmark Kelo case out of New London, cities have been allowed to use eminent domain to take property for private development, not just public use like roads.
The owner of this citgo has told News 8 in the past he thinks his property is worth $3 million because of its prime location, but the developers have only offered him $2 million.