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Imminently concerned: A local view of eminent domain
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Blight Makes Right: October 26, San Diego
Eminent Domain in N.J. - Now They Just Steal Land
Senate & Assembly Committee Joint Interim Hearing on Redevelopment & Blight. Weingart City Heights Library, S.D.
PROPERTIES THROUGHOUT MOST OF BERKELEY LIKELY TO BE SUBJECT TO "TAKING" BY EMINENT DOMAIN
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Conference on Redevelopment Abuse
San Jose, California. 95103
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April 30, 2005
S.J. Redevelopment Agency wins one, loses one in court
JUDGE FINDS BLIGHT IN NEIGHBORHOODS PROVEN, BUT NOT IN DOWNTOWN PARCEL
San Jose's Redevelopment Agency successfully proved that blight exists in some of its neighborhoods, but didn't prove that it exists in a 30-acre area of downtown.
Those are the findings of two recent court decisions brought on by San Jose property owners. Both decisions could be appealed.
In the first case, 6th District Court of Appeal Judge Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian upheld earlier court rulings that the agency's Strong Neighborhoods Initiative area fulfilled the legal blight requirements to have redevelopment money spent there. Downtown property owner Elaine Evans had filed a suit in 2002 challenging the initiative. SNI was designed to pump millions into 19 areas covering one-third of the city. The judge's order was filed Thursday.
``It's a big victory because that's been the major project in this city for the last five years,'' said City Attorney Rick Doyle.
The redevelopment agency has spent at least $20 million so far on projects ranging from community centers to sidewalks and streetlights, with an additional $50 million promised to the neglected neighborhoods. Each of the 19 SNI areas has been represented by neighborhood advisory committees that created improvement plans for those areas.
While Evans challenged the definition of blight, Doyle said the motivation for the suit was her opposition to eminent domain, the power of the city to force an owner to sell property for a public project.
Evans' attorney, William Brooks, said Friday he was planning to ask the state Supreme Court to review the decision.
In the second case, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Joseph Huber on Monday overruled the city's objections to a decision he made March 31. He ruled then that a 158,000-square-foot piece of property that holds the Victory Parking Lot, called the Mitchell Block, and an area around St. James Park -- totaling about 30 acres -- could not be included in a redevelopment area because the city had not successfully demonstrated the areas are blighted.
The city has wanted to expand its downtown redevelopment area, and considers the Mitchell Block a key parcel.
Greg Mitchell, one of the owners of the Mitchell Block, was happy with the ruling. He said he has been talking to developers and hopes to turn the land into housing.
Posted by Coalition Webbies at April 30, 2005 08:22 AM