In November, we reported that the Barstow City Council would be deciding whether to reinstate the redevelopment agency's power of eminent domain. According to a January 20 Desert Dispatch article, "Eminent domain issue sparks fear among residents," the City Council has decided to table the issue until May.
According to the article, the redevelopment agency sees its eminent domain power as a necessary tool to remove blight in the area northwest of Interstate 15 near the outlet malls. But like most redevelopment efforts, the issue is drawing much public debate.
At the City Council meeting this month, at least 16 residents spoke against the Council's reinstituting the redevelopment agency's ability to utilize eminent domain. While the City Council pointed out the redevelopment agency could not use eminent domain to acquire owner-occupied homes (a result of the passage of Proposition 99), residents were also concerned about the use of eminent domain on churches.
In order to address the residents' concerns, the City Council plans to hold a public forum on eminent domain issues within 30 days.
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