Tempers Rise Over Potential Use of Eminent Domain in Fresno
Posted in Redevelopment

According to an ABC news story, "Threat of Eminent Domain Raises Tempers at City Hall," residents of downtown Fresno are up in arms about the City's effort to extend its redevelopment rights.  While City Council members tried to assure residents that the use of eminent domain would be a "last resort," those in attendance at the council meeting were unappeased. 

In particular, residents complained that the City's plans are actually limiting efforts to improve the area because no one wants to spend money on a property or business when it is unclear what the City is going to do with the property.  One local property owner was quoted as saying

"I see this quite honestly, as a land grab. I don't think it's a proper use of eminent doman. You just want to take our land for ten cents on the dollar."

This is a typical problem government agencies face.  On the one hand, state and federal regulations usually require significant time and efforts before certain projects (including redevelopment projects) are approved and agencies can commit to anything concrete.  On the other hand, during that time-consuming approval process, potentially impacted property and business owners are in a state of flux, not knowing what is going to happen with their properties. 

As to the City Council's comment that eminent domain would only be a "last resort," shouldn't that always be the case?  California Government Code section 7267.1 requires public entities to "make every reasonable effort to acquire expeditiously real property by negotiation." 

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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