September 2, 2014
IRVINGTON, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey town is moving forward with plans to use eminent domain to buy mortgages that are in foreclosure.
Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith announced Saturday that the city will move forward with a legal study of the proposal.
The city, which has about 53,000 residents, would be the second municipality in the country to use eminent domain to help underwater homeowners. Richmond, Calif., was the first.
A lawsuit challenging the practice was dismissed by a California district court judge in September. Richmond has not yet used eminent domain.
Officials say nearly 1,800 homes in Irvington have been foreclosed on since 2008. Smith says the city needs a third party to purchase the mortgages to proceed.
The ACLU of New Jersey, which has fought against foreclosure, supports the plan.