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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 25, no. 638: June 5, 1880

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS^ GUIDE. Vol. XXV. NEW YOEK, SATUEDAY, JUNE 5, 1880. No. 638 Published Weekly by TERMS. ONE YEIAK. in advance....810.00. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SIVjBET, No. 137 Broadway ASSESSMENTS FOR LOCAL IMPROVE¬ MENTS. The important bill passed by the two houses of the legislature, relating to assessments for local improvements in this city, is now before the Gov¬ ernor and will, no doubt, be signed by hi*n. It has already been briefly stated that this new law creates a commission, consisting of the Mayor, Comptroller, Commissioner of Public Works and three citizens, who will have power to revise, re¬ duce or vacate assessments and from whose decis¬ ion there is no appeal. In order, however, to ac¬ quaint our readers with some of the leading pro¬ visions of this important measure, Mr. John C. Shaw, who has been actively engaged in bringing order out of chaos, so far as this assessment ques¬ tion is concerned, and who,fhaving;^been consult¬ ed in the framing of this legislative document, is competent authority in regard to the meaning of its various sections, has been asked to define the general purport of this measure, so important to all property owners. The bill, he says, does not prevent the vacating of assessments by the courts, if the petition to that effect be flled within three months after the passage of this act. Property owners have their] choice, either with the new commissioners or the courts, that is to say, so far as all confirmed assessments are concerned. As to assessments not confirmed, but where the work has be*a completed, owners have also their , choice, but it must be exercised within two months after confirmation. All assessments for work completed must be confirmed within six months. This bill does not apply to street open¬ ing cases, only to assessments confirmed by the Board of Assessors. The bill also provides for the repayment of assessments paid prior to the pas¬ sage of the act, where the commission shall give relief to othvsr parties who have not paid their assessments for the same improvement, provided, however, that one-half of the entire amount assessed, exclusive of the portion assessed tu the city, remained unpaid and an apparent lien on May 1, 1880. We print in advance of the daily papers a com¬ plete copy of the bill, so that our readers may judge for themselves as to the importance of its various provisions. this law, placing the amendments in brackets, so tbat those interested can at once notice the IMPORTANT CHANGES IN THE RAPID TRANSIT LAW. There have been made some important changes inthe General Rapid Transit Law of 1875, and the amendments thus made, though of great in¬ terest to property owners in Brooklyn, as well as in New If ork, have passed both Houses and been signed by the Governor without the public at large being made aware of the fact through the columns of the daily press. We berijby print section 4 of Section 4, Chap. 606, Laws of 1875: Said Commissioners shall, within thirty days after such organization determine upon the neces¬ sity of such steam railway or railways, and if they find such railway or railways to be neces¬ sary in such county, they shall within sixty days after such organization, fix and determine the route or routes for such steam railway or rail¬ ways, and the said Commissioners shall have the exclusive power to locate the route or routes of such railway or railways, over, under, through or across the streets, avenues, places or lands iu such county, except Broadway and Pifth avenue below Fifty-ninth street, and Fourth avenue above Forty-second street, in the city of New York; aud [except over, under, through or across those portions of Grand, Clason and Pranklin avenues, in the city of Brooklyn, lying between the southerly line of Lexington ave¬ nue and the northerly line of Atlantic avenue, and over, under, through or across that portion of Clason avenue, in said city, lying between the northerly line of Lexington avenue and the south- rly line of Park avenue], and except such portions of streets and avenues as are legally (authorized) for the main line of, or occupied by, an elevated or under-ground railway, in actual operation, and except such as are contained in public parks or occupied by buildings belonging to such county, or to this State, or to the United States, and except that portion of the city of Buffalo lying between Michigan and Main streets, and to provide for the connection or junction with any other railway or bridge, provided that the con¬ sent of the owners of one-half in value of the property bounded on, and the consent also of the local authorities having the control of, that por¬ tion of a street or highway upon which it is pro¬ posed to construct or operate such railway or railways, be first obtained, or, in case the consent of such property-ovraiers cannot be obtained, that the determination of three commissioners ap¬ pointed by the General Term of the Supreme Court in the District of the proposed construction, given after a due hearing of all parties interested and confirmed by the Court, that such railway or railways ought to be constructed or operated, be taken in lieu of the consent of such property- owners. Owners of property along Greene, Clason and Pranklin avenues, Brooklyn, have, by this amend¬ ment to the general law, secured for themselves protection against the construction of any ele¬ vated road along these streets. Had these ex¬ ceptions been framed in a special law, this force would not have been so binding as now that they have been enacted into a clause in the general rapid transit law covering the entire state. The next amendment, though apparently insig¬ nificant, and being only the substitution of the word "authorized" for "designated," may prove of far greater importance to the people of New York city than such a trifling amendment would seem td warrant. And yet those who understand the secret springs that move Albany legislation see in that simple word the revival of the underground railway enterprise, for which a charter was obtained twelve years ago. It now reads "except such portions of street and avenues as are legally authorized for the main line of, or occupied by an elevated or under ground rail¬ way, etc.," wbich, regarded from a legal stand point, means a good deal more than if said streets had been "designated." In fact, since the passage of the amendment the map of the nroposed under¬ ground railway has been filed in tbe Register's oflSce, and what was supposed to be a defunct corporation suddenly rises into prominence by the announcement that enough foreign capital has been obtained to build the road from the Battery to the Harlem River. But what is of far greater importance thereto is that the last legis¬ lature has passed an act to the effect that in the case of any sale of railroads or railroad franchises, under order of court, the railroad company should be legally held to possess, and to ha,ve done, everything thafc was alleged in the court's decree, setting forth fully all the franchises, rights and properfcy, and declaring that the same exist in full force and value. So much is sure that its projectors boldly announce that the legis¬ lative re-affirmation of franchises previously ob¬ tained, and necessary in order to obtain this for¬ eign capital, has been procured, and hence the change in the sentence of the secfcion above quoted was no doubt a part of the legislative programme, supplying the required re-aflfirma- tion. The revival of this enterprise has been the sub¬ ject of conversation among many owners of prop¬ erfcy, and though, perhaps, some of the ideas set forth by its projectors may as yet be considered too far in advance of the time, there can be no quesfcion that Con.modore Vanderbilt made one of the greatest mistakes in his life when he refused to build the under-ground road from hia depot to the City Hall, for which he at one time possessed a charter. We cannot in the main agree with persons who, at the very outset, have been hostile to an enterprise that will prove of advantage to New York. We do not over¬ look the fact that rapid transit in and around our city is affcer all only in ifcs infancy, and that with this re-afflrmation of the legal rights of the under¬ ground enterprise, new experiments will shortly have to be made that may strongly interfere with the monopoly now enjoyed by the elevated roads. THE NEW ASSESSMENT BILL. The following is an authentic copy of the act creating the new Board for the Revision and Cor¬ rection of Assessment in the city of New York: An Act relating to certain assessments for local improvements in the city of New York : The people, &c., &c. Section 1. Any assessment for any local im¬ provement in the city of New York heretofore con¬ firmed by the Board for the revision and correction of-assessments in said city, and also any assess¬ ment for any local improvement heretofore com¬ pleted which may be hereafter confirmed by said board, and any assessment for the local improve¬ ments known as Morningside avenue when con¬ firmed by said board, may be vacated, modified set aside, revised or confirmed in conformity, with the provisions hereafter contained and not other¬ wise. All officers charged with any duty connected with the imposition or confirmation of any assessments for local improvements in the city of New York are hereby directed so to pertorm such duty thai assessments for.all local improvements heretofore completed shall be finally passed upon by the board for the revision and correction of assessments pursuant to the provisions of law relating to assessments iu said city wjthin six months after the passage of this act. Any assessment for the local improvements known as Morningside avenue