The case involves Mount Laurel, in Burlington County, where thetownship used eminent domain to take over a 16-acre piece offarmland targeted for residential development. On the site,developer Michael Procacci Jr. of the Medford, NJ-based MiPro Homeshad proposed 23 single-family homes. The development was consistentwith zoning, the developer had his approvals in place and had begunsite and utility work when the township, with a Green Acres grantin hand, used eminent domain to seize the property for preservationas open space.

"The citizens [of New Jersey] have expressed a strong… publicinterest in the acquisition and preservation of open space," thecourt wrote in its four-page decision. That written decision addedthat the goal of limiting development is consistent "with themotive driving the public interest in open-space acquisition."

The sole dissenter in the vote was Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto,who wrote that the township gave "after-the fact explanations ofthe public-policy basis [for the use of eminent domain]." He alsosaid that the developer should be compensated not only for thevalue of the property, but also for "the potential profits" of theproperty.

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