Federal court rules in favor of Jersey City, Embankment Coalition, and Rails to Trails over Sixth Embankment
Oct 04, 2013 | 3123 views | 2 2 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JERSEY CITY – A section of railroad tracks in Jersey City is less likely to become a residential development following a court ruling last week.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman has granted a summary judgment to the city of Jersey City, the Embankment Preservation Coalition, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy regarding the Jersey City’s Sixth Street Embankment.

In 2005, Conrail sold the Harsimus Branch Embankment to eight commonly-owned limited liability companies for development without going through a federal abandonment process that is required of rail lines. Believing that the Embankment was subject to rail abandonment laws, the city, the Embankment Preservation Coalition and Rails to Trails requested that the Surface Transportation Board, the federal agency that has authority over rail abandonments, intervene.

The Surface Transportation Board decided in favor of the three plaintiffs and the decision was appealed. The case bounced around the federal court system for years while various courts examined whether the plaintiffs had standing in the matter and other issues.

Last year, the case was returned to U.S. District Court, in Washington, D.C.

Since then, the LLCs that purchased the land have changed their position that the Harsimus Branch was a rail "spur" not subject to federal regulation. They filed a joint stipulation with the Plaintiffs that the Branch was indeed a "line of rail."

Conrail raised no opposition.

Referring to this turnabout, Judge Berman wrote in her decision, “The parties have stipulated to the sole factual issue in this case, no genuine issues of material fact remain, and plaintiffs are entitled to judgment as a matter of law."

Judge Berman's decision can be appealed, but the plaintiffs are calling it a milestone in the long legal battle over the Embankment.

"We are pleased with the...court's ruling which speaks to the heart of the matter surrounding the Sixth Street Embankment," said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who as Ward E City Councilman represented the community in which the Embankment is located. "As outlined in the ruling, the proper process was not followed in the abandonment of the rail line resulting in the City of Jersey City losing its opportunity to purchase the property. The city will continue to pursue all legal avenues to preserve our rights to acquire the Embankment for the people of Jersey City."

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman has granted a summary judgment to the city of Jersey City, the Embankment Preservation Coalition, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy regarding the Jersey City’s Sixth Street Embankment.

In 2005, Conrail sold the Harsimus Branch Embankment to eight commonly-owned limited liability companies for development without going through a federal abandonment process that is required of rail lines. Believing that the Embankment was subject to rail abandonment laws, the city, the Embankment Preservation Coalition, and Rails to Trails requested that the Surface Transportation Board, the federal agency that has authority over rail abandonments, intervene.

The Surface Transportation Board decided in favor of the three plaintiffs and the decision was appealed and case bounced around the federal court system for years while various courts examined whether the plaintiffs had standing in the matter and other issues.

Last year, the case was returned to U.S. District Court, in Washington, D.C.

Since then, the LLCs that purchased the land have changed their position that the Harsimus Branch was a rail "spur" not subject to federal regulation. They filed a joint stipulation with the Plaintiffs that the Branch was indeed a "line of rail."

Conrail raised no opposition.

Referring to this turnabout, Judge Berman wrote in her decision, “The parties have stipulated to the sole factual issue in this case, no genuine issues of material fact remain, and plaintiffs are entitled to judgment as a matter of law."

Judge Berman's decision can be appealed, but the plaintiffs are calling it a milestone in the long legal battle over the Embankment.

"We are pleased with the...court's ruling which speaks to the heart of the matter surrounding the Sixth Street Embankment," said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who as Ward E City Councilman represented the community in which the Embankment is located. "As outlined in the ruling, the proper process was not followed in the abandonment of the rail line resulting in the City of Jersey City losing its opportunity to purchase the property. The city will continue to pursue all legal avenues to preserve our rights to acquire the Embankment for the people of Jersey City."
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Shyman
|
December 15, 2013
Mayor Fulop has forgotten that you should try to be the Mayor of the whole City and not just Ward E!
JohnCupo*RealEstate
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October 06, 2013
Does the entire City of Jersey City want? this ...

put it to a vote by the Public.

Yes or No..the Embankment for the people of Jersey City."

and how do we pay for it?