West Haven mayor discusses pending eminent domain lawsuits

WEST HAVEN, Conn (WTNH)– Two West Haven property owners are still holding out and don’t want to leave. A homeowner on Elm Street and the owner of the Citgo gas station on first avenue.

They’ve filed a lawsuit that alleges the $200 million project does not fit the bill as public use and is unconstitutional. And that’s holding up the whole project.

Mayor Ed O’Brien said, “We are in the process right now of going through the eminent domain process on the last few holdouts I know they got 50 that they already have control either they purchased them or closed on them already. Or they are in the process of closing.” O’Brien added, “Because they can’t get site plan reviews. They can’t go to the planning and zoning commission until they have control of all the properties.”

Mayor Ed O’Brien said right now the area is plagued with blighted properties and empty buildings. He says other businesses in that area closed even before the project. O’Brien added, “That’s an area that had a lot of environmental contamination and it will open the whole waterfront up again. It will bring much needed tax revenue to the city of west Haven.” The mayor said the outlet mall called The Haven will also create hundreds of jobs.

O’Brien said, “There will be 65 high end retail stores. I believe there’s about 7 or 8 restaurants. The boardwalk along the water will all be open to the public so West Haven residents will have full access to that.” Some West Haven residents agree. Vincent Giardina III said, “I feel sorry for the people who unfortunately have to lose their houses or move out of their houses because of the eminent domain but that sometimes happens with progress.”

The mayor said if the developer does get the go-ahead it will take 18 months to build from the start date. O’Brien added, “I think ultimately it will go through the eminent domain process and the court will either rule that they move ahead of the project and they gets 125 percent of market value or it doesn’t”

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