Final Report: Eminent Domain Task ForceApril 25, 2006
The Task Force was appointed by C.A.R. President Vince Malta based upon a recommendation of the Land Use & Environmental Committee in September of 2005. The charge of the Task Force was to develop policy in response to pending state and federal legislation proposed in response to Kelo v. New London.Members of the Eminent Domain Task Force:
William Jansen, Chair Frank Nelson Lawrence Fargher Robert Hunt James Irving
The Task Force met in person for three face-to-face full-day meetings. At the first meeting, a background paper outlining the California’s redevelopment and eminent domain laws, the Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut Supreme Court ruling, the proceedings and findings from the recent California State Legislature special hearings on redevelopment and eminent domain and a brief overview of the legislation introduced in response to the Kelo case was discussed. With the understanding that California redevelopment and eminent domain laws are some of the most restrictive in the country and substantiallydifferent than the issues in Kelo, the Task Force determined that the following four key areas should be explored during their deliberation: housing; redevelopment; eminent domain; and private property rights. These topics were then further discussed in the second meeting with the review of background materials. After the second meeting the following list of recommended motions were reviewed and approved by the Directors in January:1. That C.A.R. “SUPPORT” legislation concerning eminent domain that would: - Prohibit the taking of single family property by eminent domain for any use other than for public use. - Amend the eminent domain law to make it easier for property owners to transfer their existingproperty tax base - Require courts to award the prevailing plaintiff attorney fees and costs should the plaintiff prevail in an eminent domain proceeding when challenging: a) the validity of the taking of property; or b) the valuation of the property. - Require: a) independent licensed appraisers to be used in eminent domain proceedings; and b) redevelopment agencies to reimburse property owners the cost of an additional appraisal in eminent domain proceedings. 2. That C.A.R. “SUPPORT” legislation concerning redevelopment law that would: - Substantially tighten the definition of “blight” used by redevelopment agencies proposing to create or expand redevelopment project areas. -Reduce the time period during which the initial finding of “blight” may exist in a newly created redevelopment project area. - Reduce the time period during which redevelopment agencies may take property by eminent domain. - Require a re-evaluation of the necessity of a redevelopment area on a periodic basis. - Require redevelopment agencies to disclose to all property owners that they may transfer their property tax base if the qualified replacement propertyis within the same county.The Eminent Domain Task Force met on Thursday March 2, 2006, for the third and final time to review remaining issues. Based on the review of background materials and the ensuing discussions, the following final recommendations were made:1. That C.A.R. “FAVORS” the development of multi-use buildings within redevelopment project areas. 2. That C.A.R. “FAVORS” legislation to require redevelopment agencies to use no less than 30% (existing law require agencies to use no less than 20%) of its tax increment revenues for the purpose of building new or improving low and moderate income housing (LMI) and to require the agencies to use those funds as soon as reasonably practical. 3. That C.A.R. “FAVORS” removing antiquated subdivisions (irregular shapes or inadequate size parcels) from the statutory definition of blight. 4. That C.A.R. “WATCH” legislation that would require redevelopment agencies to pay businesses moving costs and costs associated with a temporary loss of business due to the business relocating to a new location. 5. That C.A.R. “FAVORS” legislation that would require redevelopment agencies to establish a legal assistance fund to pay “small” property owners costs associated with obtaining legal advice on eminent domain. 6. That C.A.R. “OPPOSES” new obligations on sellers and their agents to disclose that a property is locatedin a redevelopment area. 7. That C.A.R. seek amendments to legislation that will require redevelopment agencies to record on each parcel a notice that the parcel in a redevelopment project area, is subject to eminent domain for a prescribed period of time and for that notice to be removed at the appropriate time. 8. That C.A.R. “SUPPORTS” legislation that will require redevelopment agencies to adopt a more quantitative analysis when determining if a parcel is “blighted”. 9. That C.A.R. “SUPPORTS” legislation that will require redevelopment agencies to include in their appraisal of a parcel to be purchased, the cost of the replacement parcel.The above recommendations were reviewed and adopted by C.A.R. leadership on April 25, 2006, to permit C.A.R. to weigh in on pending legislation.