Posts in Redevelopment.
Posted in Redevelopment

When last we posted on the topic (see Days that Make Being an Eminent Domain Attorney Exciting: More Redevelopment Developments), the bills that would end redevelopment in California as we know it, AB 26x and AB 27x, had been passed by both the Assembly and Senate, but were left hanging when the Governor vetoed the main budget bills.  It was unclear what life, if any, these budget trailer bills had absent a budget.  The Legislature therefore simply held them without forwarding them to the Governor for his signature.  They have remained in a state of procedural and legal limbo for ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We're trying to keep on top of the developments over the future of redevelopment in California, but by the time we can get something drafted and posted, the story has already changed.  Here's a quick recap of what we know (and what we don't):

Posted in Redevelopment

Yesterday, after heated floor debates, both the Senate and Assembly passed the two-bill package to end redevelopment as we know if.  In the Senate, the two bills each eked out the requisite 21 votes, with the final tally being 21-15. In the assembly the bills passed with the more comfortable margins of 51-23 for AB 26x and 47-28 for AB 27x.

Interestingly, these bills did not pass on party line votes, with some Democrats voting no and some Republicans urging a yes vote. A heated confrontation occurred when Assemblymen Don Wagner, R-Irvine compared provisions which compel redevelopment ...

Posted in Redevelopment

It has been rumored for some time that a two bill strategy to eliminate redevelopment has been in the works.  Bill #1 would eliminate redevelopment agencies as of a specific date and bill #2 would exempt any redevelopment agency from elimination if it makes specified payments for the state. 

The text of those bills has now been released.  As predicted, Bill #1 (SB 14x / AB 26x) would, immediately upon enactment, suspend most agency activities including the issuance of new bonds, entering into new contracts, acquiring or disposing of properties, or taking other actions beyond the ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We previously reported that the City of Azusa utilized the power of eminent domain to redevelop the area formerly known as "Corky's Corner," which required the acquisition of long-time (39 years) tenant The Furniture Station.  After the owner lost a right to take challenge, he settled with the City on the value of the property.  At the time, the City noted it planned to immediately begin redevelopment efforts, but it could not say who would ultimately end up in the new space.  Well, that new tenant has officially been announced.

According to a Pasadena Star-News article by Daniel ...

Posted in Redevelopment

As we have previously reported (Fate of Redevelopment Remains in Limbo), the bills to eliminate redevelopment agencies have languished due to Republican opposition.  With so many redevelopment agencies scrambling to use or secure redevelopment funds in an effort to protect them from being taken by Sacramento and with shortfalls in property tax revenues due to declining property values, redevelopment agencies are no longer as tempting a target for bridging the State’s budgetary shortfall.  

While redevelopment agencies may survive this budget cycle, the fight over their ...

The case involving a small boxing gym in National City, California, has garnered national media attention.  The owner filed suit challenging National City's redevelopment plan for, among other things, failing to follow California's post-Kelo rules on making blight determinations.

We reported on the case last month in A More Personal View of the Redevelopment Fight from National City.  The trial ended a few weeks ago, and the parties have been anxiously waiting for a decision ever since.  Late yesterday, the court issued its decision, ruling in favor of plaintiffs.  According to ...

Posted in Redevelopment

I presented an update on eminent domain/redevelopment issues making their way through the legislature at this week's IRWA Chapter 67 (Orange County) monthly meeting, and I've received a few follow-up requests for more information.  So I decided it was probably worthwhile to put all the information here on the Nossaman blog. 

  • Status of California Redevelopment Agencies:  It's now been several weeks since the  attempted Assembly votes, where Governor Brown's attempt to eliminate redevelopment agencies fell one vote short.  The Governor needs the $2.2 billion in ...

Roy Fowler's Furniture Station has been a well-known staple within the City of Azusa.  The 39-year-old store has witnessed much change in the area known as Corky's Corner.  However, the store is now officially shutting down after the City of Azusa acquired the property through eminent domain.

According to an article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Long-time Azusa furniture store to close after losing battle against city, eminent domain," the Furniture Station finally reached a settlement with the City after a contentious eminent domain battle.  The City sought to ...

Posted in Redevelopment

If Gov. Brown wins, plans for sports venues in Escondido and San Diego lose.  So ran a headline on the Los Angeles Times' blog earlier this year.  The article noted if the governor were successful in abolishing redevelopment agencies, it could kill plans for a minor-league baseball park in Escondido and a new football stadium for the Chargers in downtown San Diego.  Any new stadium for the A’s, either in Oakland or San Jose, could experience some similar fate.

With SB 77 falling 1 vote short of the requisite 2/3 majority in the Assembly, and traction being gained by the California ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Despite daily rumors to the contrary, neither chamber took up the issue of redevelopment last week.

Both the Senate and Assembly held brief floor sessions Friday morning without voting on either SB 77 or AB 101, the bills eliminating redevelopment. While both houses remained on-call over weekend and today, the next floor sessions are not scheduled until Tuesday, March 29.

Meanwhile, there have been intensive lobbying efforts in support of the CRA and League of California Cities Alternative solution. Essentially, they are proposing that redevelopment agencies voluntarily ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Another day has passed with no apparent movement on the two remaining elements of the Governor’s budget.  Rumors are circulating that plans are afoot for bypassing Republican legislators by placing a tax measure on the November ballot. 

Officially, the Governor’s office remains focused on the original plan.  In fact, the Governor’s spokesman, Gil Duran, was quoted as saying that it was a lie that the Governor has decided on a November election.  However, other anonymous sources say that while Brown is continuing to negotiate with Republicans to put the tax extension on a June ...

Posted in Redevelopment

A pretty dull Monday on the redevelopment front.  We're hearing that it's likely that the Assembly will not take up the issue again today or tomorrow, so Wednesday may be the next big day.

In the meantime, the California League of Cities has officially endorsed the CRA's alternative proposal, which is not particularly surprising since one of the "losers" if redevelopment is abolished is likely to be the cities. 

The League's summary of the CRA proposal is as follows:

  1. Local redevelopment agencies can voluntarily suspend their housing set-aside for FY 2011-12. An equivalent amount of ...
Posted in Redevelopment

Both the Senate and Assembly have adjourned for the weekend, but what a week it has been in the battle over the future of redevelopment.

The bill to kill redevelopment, SB 77, came up for multiple votes in the Assembly on Wednesday. The bill initially garnered only 50 of the 54 votes needed for the two-thirds majority. The Governor, working out of the Speakers office just off of the Assembly floor, personally lobbied and cajoled legislatures throughout the day. Eventually, he won over two wavering Democrats and one Republican, Chris Norby of Orange County. By the time of the bill’s final ...

Posted in Redevelopment

The Assembly has been in session since 11:00, and as best I can tell (I haven't been able to watch the feed the entire day), it has not yet taken up SB 77 or redevelopment again today.  My understanding is that further discussion is planned before the session ends, and that SB 77 was - at least at the beginning of the session - "item #7" on the agenda. 

In the meantime, the 11:00 session started a bit late this morning, and both houses almost immediately convened in caucuses.  Later, they moved forward with a few of the budget bills, taking them up and (apparently) approving them based on a ...

Posted in Redevelopment

As the evening has worn on in the Assembly, SB 77 has been called to a vote several more times.  What started as 50 yes votes (four short of passage) has now become 53 "yes" votes - now a single vote away. 

Just before 7:00, the vote was 53-23, with 3 still abstaining.  Another vote was called at about 7:10, but the tally remained 53-23.  The plan at that time was to adjourn at 8:30 barring some change, but discussions continued until well past 9:00.

At about 9:20 p.m., the vote was called one more time.  It remained 53-23, one vote short.  At that point, the Assembly adjourned; it is scheduled to ...

Posted in Redevelopment

SB 77 - the budget trailer bill to eliminate redevelopment agencies in California - has been debated on the Assembly floor much of the afternoon.  When it finally came time to vote at a little after 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, it was still unclear whether Governor Brown would receive the two-thirds vote necessary. 

As the votes came in, it became obvious that (1) the votes, as expected, would fall largely on party lines, with Democrats approving the bill and Republicans rejecting it, and (2) that the final result was going to be very close, one way or the other. 

Ultimately, the vote came in ...

Posted in Redevelopment

It looks like Governor Brown's proposal to end redevelopment as part of his overhaul of California's budget may come to a vote on both the Assembly and Senate floors today.  AB 101 and SB 77 are scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. vote, and both include within them the plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies.  They require a 2/3 vote for passage.

In the meantime, the California Redevelopment Association is promoting an alternative proposal that it hopes will be presented on the floor.  They claim that the CRA proposal will:

  • Provide significant funding to schools which could also help close the ...

We've blogged a lot in the past two months about redevelopment issues and the Governor's plan to help right California's budget by, among other things, eliminating redevelopment agencies.  But most of what we've written has viewed redevelopment from the 30,000 foot level. 

For policy-making decisions, viewing the big picture is hugely important.  But a case making news this week out of National City reminds us that the redevelopment fight is also quite personal. 

The Community Youth Athletic Center has been fighting what it perceives as an attack on its very existence for nearly four ...

Posted in Redevelopment

As we noted in yesterday's post, Vote on Redevelopment Agencies' Future Uncertain, the Governor's deadline of March 10th is slipping away.  How far can it slip?  Some believe that a vote on his budget proposal could slip all the way into the third week of March, unless a few Republicans break ranks before then.  Thus far, at least publicly, Republican opposition to both the tax extension and abolition of redevelopment remains unabated.  Among the demands in the now infamous March 7th open letter to the Governor from five key Republican senators is "Save but reform Redevelopment Agencies and ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Just when it looked liked we had reached the eleventh hour in the California's redevelopment battle, redevelopment agencies appear to be getting at least a temporary stay of execution. Governor Brown had declared a March 10 deadline for a vote on his proposal to overhaul California's budget, including "disestablishing" redevelopment agencies. 

But on Monday, those efforts stalled.  In an open letter to the Governor, five key Republican senators announced:

Although it is clear that you [the Governor] engaged in our conversation seriously, it appears we have reached an impasse.

In ...

Posted in Redevelopment

The Legislature may deal a death blow to redevelopment in California as early as next week.  Late yesterday afternoon, on a party line vote, the members of the Budget Conference Committee voted to move the Governor's proposal to eliminate redevelopment to both houses for a vote by the Assembly and Senate members.  The Governor wants the State Legislature to send him a budget package to sign by March 10, the date by which he must secure a two-thirds vote to get a measure to extend tax increases on the June ballot.

Therein lies the rub.  A minimum of two Republicans are needed in the Assembly ...

Recently we've been reporting on redevelopment agencies' efforts to utilize redevelopment funds before they're no more under new proposed legislation.  Whether you agree or disagree with the existence of redevelopment agencies, sometimes those agencies acquire properties on behalf of other government entities for undisputed public purposes.  For example, the Redding Redevelopment Agency is currently acting on behalf of the State Administrative Office of the Courts to acquire property necessary to build a new Shasta County Courthouse.  If redevelopment agencies are ...

I wanted to alert people to two meetings coming up soon that may be of interest if you're in Southern California. 

  • IRWA, Chapter 57 meeting on March 2:  Chapter 57 is holding its monthly meeting tomorrow in Riverside.  The speaker will be Chris Mazier from Lawyers Title and his subject will be Preliminary Title Reports and their Dreaded Schedule B Items!  As all eminent domain attorneys and right of way consultants know, navigating "Schedule B" issues is a huge part of the precondemnation planning process.  And having now spent a huge part of the last several months reviewing Schedule B items ...
Posted in Redevelopment

Around California, agencies are scrambling to use or secure redevelopment funds in an effort to protect against anticipated legislation to abolish redevelopment agencies in California.  We've been following the story for weeks, but things are really heating up now. 

As just a few examples from the past couple of days:

Posted in Redevelopment

They have been around for over 20 years.  Established at a time when state and federal governments were withdrawing from financing infrastructure projects, Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) were developed as an alternative vehicle for local financing of those types of projects.  However, they are difficult to establish and have limited powers.  As a result, they have rarely been seen as an alternative to redevelopment agencies.  Now, a generation later, with the possible demise of redevelopment, cities and counties are once again casting about for alternative sources of ...

Posted in Redevelopment

In a report issued in advance of today’s Senate Subcommittee hearing on the issue, the Legislative Analyst's Office reiterated its support for the Governor’s call for an end to redevelopment in California.  While acknowledging that redevelopment does lead to economic development within redevelopment project areas, the report asserts that there is no reliable evidence that it attracts business to the state or increases overall regional economic development. 

This may all be well and good, but analyzing the issues this way creates a subtle - but important -shift in the ...

Over the weekend, Chlorinated Liberty posted a pretty good article that articulates the primary reasons people cite as the basis for abolishing redevelopment agencies.  The article, "How Eliminating California's Redevelopment Agencies Spurs Economic Growth," takes a reasoned approach to why the free market is better equipped to handle redevelopment and blight remediation than the government - and its redevelopment agencies. 

The article walks through some statistics that show that many of California's redevelopment agencies did not report any job creation generated by their ...

Posted in Redevelopment

In his Tuesday column for the San Francisco Chronicle, former Mayor (Willie) Brown takes former Mayor (Jerry) Brown to task for having forgotten about all the good things that redevelopment money did for him while he was Mayor of Oakland.  The renovation of the Fox Theater, construction of 10,000 units of housing downtown, the creation of two charter schools - all undertaken with redevelopment money.

But here is what may be the big news.  Despite all the talk of abolishing redevelopment agencies in California, a compromise may be in the works.  According to Willie Brown, in Deal on state ...

Posted in Redevelopment

In the wake of the Governor’s proposal to abolish all redevelopment agencies, State Controller John Chiang announced that his auditors would be reviewing 18 redevelopment agencies.  As he stated in his press release,

The heated debate over whether the RDAs are the engines of local economic job growth or are simply scams providing windfalls to political cronies at the expense of public services has largely been based on antidotal evidence.

These reviews, designed to assist lawmakers in their budge debates will therefore focus on how the targeted RDAs define a blighted area ...

A January 27 article in California Watch, "Eminent domain battles rage on despite Prop. 99," reflects the ongoing confusion that surrounds the efforts to reform eminent domain in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo decision

The article's premise is that Proposition 99, approved by California's voters in 2008, did not stop what the author describes as "eminent domain abuse."  But the case example that underlies the article reflects a fundamental misunderstanding about what Proposition 99 does (or does not do), and what people typically mean when they talk of "eminent ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Earlier this month, we reported on the Governor's budget proposal, which includes the bold plan to "disestablish" (my new favorite word) redevelopment agencies as part of his plan to shore up California's budget.  We then told you about how the budget proposal interacts with Proposition 22, passed last November. 

Not surprisingly, the story is far from over.  A January 21 article in the Los Angeles Times by Patrick McGreevy, "Cities may sue governor over his redevelopment proposal," reports that earlier today, more than 100 mayors and city council members came together to condemn ...

Posted in Redevelopment

The large pool of tax increment revenue flowing to the state’s 400-plus redevelopment agencies has long made a tempting target for a cash strapped State.  Time and again Sacramento has dipped into this pool to offset budget deficits.  Local interests have fought back, both at the ballot box (e.g., 2004's successful Proposition 1A "Protection of Local Government Revenue"), and in the courts.  Sometimes local interests gained the upper hand and sometimes the advantage went to the State.

Proposition 22, approved by the voters in November, was intended by its backers to be the ultimate ...

Posted in Redevelopment

In U.S. politics, mudslinging -- or negative political campaigning -- is "as American as Mississippi mud."  Just recently, I'm sure everyone recalls the heated back-and-forth between Governor Brown and Meg Whitman.  Usually, the attacks die down after the election is over.  And rarely do the attacks center on eminent domain issues.

That brings us to Palm Springs.  Mayor Steve Pougnet unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Representative Mary Bono Mack for the 45th Congressional District in November.  Months after the election, the debate continues between the two.  

According to a recent ...

Posted in Redevelopment

It should come as no surprise that the budget proposal issued by Governor Brown today contains some painful cuts.  California remains in the midst of one of the worst economic cycles in history, and its budget shortfall has reached historic proportions.  According to the Governor, as he takes office, California's budget shortfall totals $25 billion - yes, that's Billion, with a "B." 

For me, I am particularly disturbed by proposed cuts to education; the UC system, which provided me with both my undergraduate and law degrees, may face numerous cuts, including a general ...

The City of Rancho Cordova's Redevelopment Agency has been working to implement plans to eliminate blighted conditions along Folsom Boulevard.  As part of those efforts, the RDA filed an eminent domain action to acquire a 9-acre site owned by Lily Company.

Lily Company challenged the RDA's right to take on numerous grounds, including lack of proper blight findings and allegations that the RDA was colluding with the Los Rios Community College District.  We initially reported on the case in an August post, Rancho Cordova Eminent Domain Case Involves Allegations of Contractual ...

Posted in Redevelopment

The Americana at Brand center in Glendale is a large, outdoor shopping community consisting of over 75 retail shops and 300 condos and apartments.  It opened to the public in 2008.  One would think this would not have been the best time to open up a retail center.  However, apparently in the midst of the recession, the center is doing quite well, and the developer is seeking to expand onto two adjacent properties.   

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, "Developer wants to expand Americana at Brand shopping center," the developer of Americana at Brand -- Rick Caruso -- has sent a letter ...

In an all-too-familiar tale these days, a redevelopment agency is seeking to acquire property as part of its efforts to alleviate blighted conditions in the city, and owners are reacting strongly to the agency's plans to utilize the power of eminent domain where owners are reluctant to sell. 

According to a November 5 article in the Signal Tribune, "Property owners condemn Signal Hill RDA’s use of eminent domain," the situation in Signal Hill pushes all the buttons on both sides of the issue:

  1. The redevelopment agency touts numerous successful projects, including converting ...
Posted in Redevelopment

Just a quick update on yesterday's post about West Oakland involving Kroger's plans to build a store there.  Last night, the City Council unanimously approved changes to its eminent domain policies to allow the city to condemn the property necessary for the planned project. 

While reports of the hearing have somewhat different tones, it is fairly clear that the meeting was well attended, and that audience members were passionate, regardless of which side of the issue they supported. 

As the Sean Maher reports it for the Contra Costa Times in "Oakland City Council changes eminent ...

West Oakland has some notoriously tough neighborhoods, including the large ACORN project area where Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton was killed and an area known unflatteringly as "Ghost Town."  Over the years, it has been the subject of some controversial public works projects, facilitated through extensive eminent domain.  This includes the West Oakland BART station, a major postal facility, and the ACORN housing project.  

An October 4 article in the Contra Costa Times by Brian Beveridge, "'Eminent domain' draws shudders in West Oakland" describes the ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Just before the midnight deadline for taking action yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 2531, the bill that would increase the eminent domain authority of the Community Redevelopment Association of Los Angeles.  His late-night message to the legislature was as follows:

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 2531 without my signature.
Redevelopment funds are to be used solely for the purpose of eliminating blight in urban neighborhoods in California cities. This bill would authorize the use of redevelopment funds for projects ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Proposed changes to California's redevelopment law have been quietly making their way through the California legislature.  With little publicity, AB 2531, authored by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, made its way through the process this summer.  After a series of amendments, AB 2531 was passed by California's Senate on August 12 by a vote of 22-13.  On August 27, it passed California's Assembly, 50-26.

On September 10, the bill was presented to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for signature.  Under the California legislative process, the Governor has until September 30 to sign or veto ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We've previously reported on the City of Imperial Beach's use of eminent domain to displace tenants in the Miracle Shopping Center.  According to a recent  San Diego Union Tribune article, "Eminent domain to begin soon against IB merchant," the City is continuing down that path -- this time with the business South Bay Drugs.  The owner has operated the business in the shopping center for 28 years. 

The City Council voted on Wednesday to move forward with the adoption of a Resolution of Necessity so the eminent domain process could begin.  But the case has a bit of an interesting twist.  

Posted in Redevelopment

According to a Bay Area Biz Talk blog post for the San Francisco Business Times, "Talk of Eminent Domain Stirs Fears in West Oakland," the City of Oakland is contemplating reinstituting its redevelopment agency's power of eminent domain in order to acquire a site for a new Foods Co. (Kroger) grocery store.  

The five-acre site in question is located at the corner of West Grand Avenue and Filbert Street, and is currently home to an industrial warehouse and an autobody shop.  While the proposed grocery store has done much of the negotiating and acquisition itself, it has been ...

Posted in Redevelopment

The County of San Luis Obispo is considering a new way to finance infrastructure improvements -- the creation of a redevelopment agency.  According to a San Luis Obispo Tribune Article, "Redevelopment agency reconsidered," County supervisors have instructed their planning staff to investigate the pros and cons of instituting such an agency.  

County planners noted that a redevelopment agency could be set up to cover most rural communities, and specifically singled out San Miguel and Oceano as areas that could benefit from redevelopment.  While several individuals noted the ...

Posted in Redevelopment

On its face, the City of Rancho Cordova's eminent domain action to acquire a vacant parcel for redevelopment purposes is a familiar story. The government wants to seize private property in order to turn the property over to a third party for redevelopment.  This is the basic fact pattern that caused the national eminent domain uproar that started when the Supreme Court issued its 2005 Kelo decision.

Unlike in Kelo, however, in California the government typically cannot take such steps without making appropriate findings that the property being condemned is "blighted."  This ...

The City of Glendale plans to vote tonight on a plan that would extend eminent domain authority in its central redevelopment area for an additional 12 years.  According to an August 10 article in the Glendale-News Press, "City Set to Extend Eminent Domain," the agency's eminent domain authority is currently set to expire next month. 

According to the Director of the Community Redevelopment & Housing Department, Philip Lanzafame, eminent domain is a key tool if redevelopment projects are to succeed:  "If you didn't have this, some property owners could hold the community hostage."

This ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We've been following the City of Barstow's potential reinstatement of its redevelopment agency's power of eminent domain, most recently noting that a special hearing was set for August 5.  According to a Desert Dispatch article from over the weekend, "Eminent domain power reinstated for parts Riverside Drive and east Barstow," the reinstatement was only partly successful:  the redevelopment agency can now use eminent domain on commercial property in Project Area 1 (the eastern part of the City at the end of Riverside Drive near the sewer plant), but a deadlocked vote caused the ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We have reported several times on the City of Barstow's efforts to renew its Redevelopment Agency's eminent domain authority, but Barstow residents apparently remain skeptical.  A public meeting in April left many dissatisfied with the City's efforts, and the City's Council's effort to address the issue in May led to a deadlock

Now, the City has scheduled an additional public meeting for this week in anticipation of the City Council's August 5 special meeting on the issue. 

According to a July 25 article in the Desert Dispatch, "City to attempt second eminent domain meeting ...

Posted in Redevelopment

According to an article in the Californian, "Salinas mayor: Beat blight, grow tax base," the City of Salinas is slated to vote tonight on whether to expand three Salinas redevelopment zones.  The city is considering such a move in order to grow property tax revenues as assessed property values in the area rise.

The Mayor of Salinas, Dennis Donohue, believes business created in the redevelopment zones could bring an influx of between $5 million and $15 million annually in sales and occupancy taxes.  He is quoted as saying:  "We have to expand our tax base, and this is a possible tool to do it."  ...

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