Posts tagged blight.
Posted in Redevelopment

Redevelopment has quite the lengthy history in California.  Yet it has generally been "All Quiet on the Western Front" since redevelopment agencies were abolished in 2011 as part of Governor Brown's plan to fix the state's budget deficit.  Yes, the legislature breathed new life back into redevelopment last year through Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities (CRIAs), but a widespread return seemed unlikely given the safeguards and restrictions put in place -- particularly as to what can constitute "blight" (a term which previously could be interpreted so ...

Posted in Court Decisions

I wanted to provide a quick update on a couple of cases we've reported on earlier. 

The first case is the dispute between the City of Seal Beach and Bay City Partners over 10.7 acres of waterfront property.  The city wanted the property preserved for the public, while the owner wanted to use it as part of a new oceanfront development.  According to a March 29 article in the Orange County Register by Roxana Kopetman, Seal Beach and developer agree on waterfront property, the parties agreed this week to a settlement that will result in leaving about 70 percent of the property open to 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

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 Right to Take

One of the most vexing aspects of eminent domain for many property and business owners is the fundamental fact that the owner does not get to decide whether to sell the property.  I cannot recall the number of initial client meetings I've had over the years that began with the client asking "How do I stop this from happening?"

In most cases, my clients are disappointed to hear my answer:  "You can't."  But this answer is overly simplified, because there are actually several grounds for preventing the government from condemning property. 

A recent post on the Biersdorf & Associates eminent ...

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 ...

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."  ...

One of the big issues in eminent domain over the past five years has been the role of blight in justifying eminent domain for redevelopment purposes.  The seminal decision (that started all the ruckus) -- Kelo v. City of New London -- involved the use of eminent domain for redevelopment purposes where the city did not even pretend it was acting to eliminate blight.

Kelo had little direct impact on California's eminent domain law, because even before the Supreme Court issued its opinion in 2005, California's law allowed eminent domain for redevelopment purposes only upon a proper showing ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We've previously reported on several cities contemplating the renewal of their redevelopment agencies' powers of eminent domain.  In the cities of San Pablo and Barstow, it appears that public outcry may have derailed those renewal efforts, at least for now.  Here's a brief update:

Posted in Redevelopment

According to a Contra Costa Times article, "Bellflower may expand redevelopment area, hopes to add $42 million to city coffers," the City of Bellflower has approved proceeding with a study to potentially expand its redevelopment area to include an additional 271 acres.  The City hopes that the proposed redevelopment -- through increased property tax revenues -- could generate over $40 million for the City over the next 45 years.

The article reports that a number of hurdles must be cleared before the expansion area is approved.  For example, the City would need to obtain approval from ...

Posted in Redevelopment

The City of Milpitas plans to expand its redevelopment area to encompass more than 600 additional acres.  The County of Santa Clara, however, claims that the proposed expansion area has very little "blight."  Because of the potential for diversion of tax dollars and the significant financial impact the expansion may cause, this apparently has led to a brewing dispute between the County and the CIty.

According to a Milpitas Post article, "County to Milpitas: revisit RDA expansion plan or face lawsuit," the County has threatened the City with a lawsuit if the City moves forward with its ...

Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute published this week an article about the economics of eminent domain for economic development (i.e., for redevelopment purposes) entitled "This Land Ain’t your Land; this Land Is my Land."  I found the piece interesting, despite the fact that it seemed the author started from the conclusion "eminent domain is bad" and worked backwards crafting an analysis to get there. 

Ultimately, however, Mr. Scribner does provide some interesting insight.  He does not simply come out and say eminent domain for economic development is ...

Posted in Right to Take

In December, we reported on Sierra Madre's decision to allow voters to decide whether the City should possess the power to condemn property for redevelopment purposes.  On April 13, 2010, voters will decide the issue by ratifying or rejecting City Ordinance 1304, but for now, the measure has triggered some colorful debate. 

On February 27, Susan Henderson offered a Mountain View News article "Eminent Domain Measure -- Yes or No?"  She purports to analyze the measure in the broader context of recent eminent-domain-reform efforts, including California's Proposition 99, passed in ...

The City of Placentia has a large redevelopment area, and ambitious plans to redevelop an industrial neighborhood in south Placentia.  But the City has responded to the outrage over eminent domain and, in particular, eminent domain for redevelopment purposes.  The City apparently has no power to condemn property for private redevelopment. 

Yet, this lack of authority has not stopped some property owners in the redevelopment area from complaining that the "threat" of eminent domain has decimated their property's value.  According to a February 17 Orange County Register article by ...

The City of Rosemead has a vision of its future that transforms the city into "a small town in the heart of a metropolis."  That, according to San Gabriel Valley Tribune reporter Rebecca Kimitch, is the goal of the city's new strategic plan.  Ms. Kimitch's article, "Rosemead defines itself as small town in the big city," explains:

The to-do list is ambitious: landscape medians and plant trees along sidewalks; demolish dilapidated vacant buildings; develop new neighborhood parks; remove graffiti; expand community classes and develop a community computer lab; create a civic center at ...

The City of Corona has announced plans to extend its eminent domain authority in a downtown area which Corona feels is blighted.  The planned extension could impact businesses in the area, but Corona is carving out residential properties.  According to Riverside Press-Enterprise reporter Leslie Parrilla, in her November 16 article, "Public hearing on eminent domain area":

Hundreds of businesses are in the Main and Sixth Street area covered by the action. Not included would be residential properties within the Merged Redevelopment Project Areas.

Corona's current plans do not ...

 In an October 31 article for the North County Times, "VISTA: City wants to redevelop motel property," reporter Cigi Ross writes about the City of Vista's plans to acquire a motel property as part of a plan to redevelop the area:

The owner of a downtown Vista motel is accusing the city of trying to kick him out of his business and his home.

City officials announced Monday they're trying to purchase the Vista Riviera Motel as part of a redevelopment project along Vista Village Drive and Vista Way that could include a new car dealership. 

While the City's efforts currently involve a voluntary acquisition, the owner has already said that he does not want to sell, raising the possibility that the City could acquire the property through eminent domain.   Though this situation raises the specter of the often criticized Kelo decision, the situation is different, in that Vista's stated motivation in acquiring the property is to eliminate blight, a motivation missing in the Kelo case

Posted in Right to Take

In June 2005, the United States Supreme Court issued its now infamous decision in Kelo v. City of New London.  That decision made eminent domain and condemnation household terms (imagine my shock at hearing my previously unknown, niche area of practice discussed in normal, day-to-day conversations).  The decision sparked tremendous controversy, as the Court ruled that the City of New London, Connecticut could condemn properties for redevelopment purposes for purely economic reasons. 

In other words, the City did not even pretend that it was acting to eliminate blight (the ...

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain in California. We cover all aspects of eminent domain in California, 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 California eminent domain conferences and seminars.

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