The City of Lodi held a special meeting of its City Council this week to talk about options for a revised Redevelopment Agency. And, even though (1) the City has already enacted protections against using eminent domain for redevelopment purposes, and (2) the proposal includes no eminent domain authority, it appears residents are still up in arms over the issue.
According to a June 10 article by Maggie Creamer of the Lodi News-Sentinel, "Eminent domain a major concern at Lodi City Council's redevelopment meeting," the public appears more concerned with the threat of eminent domain than the need for redevelopment. One speaker explained that residents want even more assurances that eminent domain will not be used:
"It's a fundamental concern, and no amount of logic will convince people otherwise. It's an emotional issue," she said.
Despite this, it appears the fears may be largely unfounded, at least in this case:
Councilman Larry Hansen said the council decided to not include eminent domain in any form in its redevelopment agency, and that the city has a strict eminent domain ordinance.
That said, he acknowledges that people remain concerned about what might happen "20 years from now" if the redevelopment plan moves forward.
I'm all for the public's right to oppose eminent domain, especially for redevelopment purposes. But I think the pendulum swings too far when a city apparently in bad need of redevelopment is potentially thwarted by an anti-eminent domain agenda even where the city has taken steps to craft a redevelopment plan that, on its face, does not allow for the use of eminent domain.
It will be interesting to see what happens.
Rick Rayl is an experienced litigator on a broad range of complex civil litigation issues. His practice is concentrated primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other real-estate-valuation disputes. His public ...
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