Redevelopment in Vista Gets Political
Posted in Redevelopment

There is an interesting story in today's North County Times about a political dispute brewing between members of a sub-committe of the Vista Redevelopment Agency.  The story by Cigi Ross, titled "VISTA: Member breaks rank with Vista redevelopment panel," explains that one of Vista's project area committee members, Jerome Hymes, has distributed a letter to about 35 downtown businesses warning that the agency may seize their property by eminent domain.  The other members are chastising Hymes, claiming the letter is filled with a "total laundry list of all the urban myths of redevelopment."

Whether Hymes' letter is true or not, the redevelopment agency has not come across in the best light.  For example, Hymes claims that some committee members have an insensitive attitude towards property owners not interested in selling their property, citing a remark by one member about wanting to "bulldoze" a property.  That committee member admits making the statement, but explains that he "didn't really mean it."   Hymes also cites to the agency's authorizing the use of eminent domain to acquire the Vista Riviera Motel and lease the property to a nearby car dealership, a story we have previously reported on.

According to the article, Vista has plans to acquire property on the Paseo Santa Fe Corridor and sell the property to private developers for construction of mixed-use buildings comprised of retail, office, and condos.  The agency sold $36 million in bonds last month to begin purchasing the properties that stretch along South Santa Fe Avenue from Monte Vista Drive to Orange Avenue.  The agency also apparently has plans to borrow an additional $103.5 million over the next five years for the property acquisitions. 

In order to give property and business owners more information about the redevelopment, the agency plans to begin unrolling a communication plan in May or June.  Ultimately, public support plays a significant role in the redevelopment process, and if the Vista Redevelopment Agency intends to go forward with its redevelopment plans, it will need to ensure the community is on board.

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain. We cover all aspects of eminent domain, including condemnation, inverse condemnation and regulatory takings. We also keep track of current cases, project announcements, budget issues, legislative reform efforts and report on all major eminent domain conferences and seminars in the Western United States.

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