Public Outcry Derails Renewal of Eminent Domain for Redevelopment in San Pablo and Barstow
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:

  • We previously reported that the City of San Pablo was contemplating renewing its eminent domain powers for an additional 12 years.  According to a Mercury News article, "San Pablo dumps eminent domain plans," the City has dropped its redevelopment renewal plans after residents turned up with "a racous groundswell of mistrust and resentment of city government that included threats of a recall."  While City officials attempted to demonstrate the accomplishments of the redevelopment agency, such as the development of shopping centers, athletic fields and parks, commercial corridors and new housing developments, the citizens were not buying it.  After a study declared 90-percent of the City blighted, one resident went so far as to describe giving the redevelopment agency the power of eminent domain would be like "having your chicken house guarded by a pack of very hungry wolves."
  • We also previously reported that the City of Barstow was deciding whether to reinstate its redevelopment agency's power of eminent domain.  According to a Desert Dispatch article, "Barstow Council deadlocks over eminent domain," the City has been unable to reach a decision, with its council members currently deadlocked on the issue.  Citizens voiced concerns, and complained that their questions regarding redevelopment and blight had not been answered.  So what happens next?  Apparently, no future meeting has been scheduled, as the council remained deadlocked on whether to table the issue indefinitely or whether to bring the item back for discussion at a future meeting.  However, one council member was absent, and his vote will ultimately break the deadlock.  It will be interesting to see how that council member votes, especially if there is strong public opposition.

If nothing else, these examples demonstrate that public opposition can influence government decision-making. 

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 United States.

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