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N.J. town may use eminent domain to redevelop corner with pizza shop, 3 homes

A borough in Camden County recently approved a plan to redevelop a former Catholic Church and other nearby private property by possibly using its power of eminent domain, whereby public entities can force the sale of private properties.

The redevelopment of the former Church of the Sacred Heart in Mount Ephraim, three occupied single-family homes and a popular pizza restaurant is part of a plan to create a 2-acre footprint on a busy corner property.

The municipal planning board last week unanimously voted to recommend the borough Commission approve a resolution designating an area in need of redevelopment for the targeted properties. A report including details of why this would be in the public interest was submitted to local land use officials in July. Based on that report and an explanation by a city planner from the firm of Key Engineers, which wrote it, the board made its recommendation.

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