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September 14, 2005
Sale of car site to Mossy averts forced seizure
By Tanya Sierra
September 14, 2005
NATIONAL CITY – A last-minute deal between Mossy Nissan and the owners of the property it leases was announced last night, just before National City officials were to vote on whether to invoke eminent domain to force a sale.
Without help from the city's Community Development Commission, Mossy Nissan will buy the 4 ½ acres it has leased from the Daily family since 1982 for $7.95 million and will finish out its lease, which has less than two years left.
"We've been a good neighbor for 23 years and we'll be here for a long time," Peter Mossy told the City Council, which also acts as the CDC board of directors.
Mossy Nissan had threatened to leave the lucrative Mile of Cars location if it could not acquire the Daily property, and asked the city to help it do so. In March, its real estate representative said it would pay no more than $7 million for the Daily parcel.
With the possibility looming that Mossy would leave National City, taking at least $1 million in annual property and sales taxes with it, CDC staff members began the eminent-domain process, which shook the public.
The Daily family believed it was wrapping up negotiations with Mossy Nissan when it received a letter from the CDC, which began the condemnation process.
Believing Mossy was working both sides – the Daily family and the city – for a lower price, the Dailys hired an attorney to take on the eminent-domain process.
"I'm pleased the parties could come to a meeting of the minds without involvement from the CDC," Daily attorney Anna F. Roppo said.
Lawrence Daily, the family spokesman, said the family made concessions worth about $3.5 million but was satisfied because ultimately a government entity was not forcing them to sell.
"We're trying to make the best of a bad situation," he said.
In the past, National City did well using eminent domain to erase bars and accompanying crime to clear a site for an education center on National City Boulevard.
In this case, however, many residents thought the city was meddling in a private matter and spoke out at council meetings.
Mayor Nick Inzunza, who has had an aggressive agenda for revitalizing the city in a relatively short time, said, "This is not an attempt to overuse our authority."
Property must be considered blighted in order for the city to seize it through eminent domain. In simple terms, law defines blight as property that is not economically viable and includes deteriorating physical conditions.
Even though Roppo knew about the last-minute agreement before the eminent-domain hearing began, she said, as a matter of principle, it was important to make a meticulous presentation objecting to the city's involvement and its description of the property as blighted.
City leaders said they are just as relieved not to have to engage in eminent domain.
"We're glad (the two) sides were able to come to an agreement," Vice Mayor Ron Morrison said. "We realize how sensitive the issue of eminent domain is."Posted by Coalition Webbies at September 14, 2005 01:50 PM