Eminent domain weighed

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The south parking structure would consume 14 parcels owned by five owners, the north structure would cover eight parcels owned by six owners and the north civic building would cover 10 parcels owned by seven owners. The owner of German Autohaus, whose repair shop at 9th Street and Railroad Avenue sits where the north lot is planned, questions the planners’ logic. “In a prime real estate market to put a parking structure four stories high (there) doesn’t make sense from an economic standpoint,” said Joseph Jasik. “I don’t go to the war until I have an enemy. I’m waiting to see what happens.” Jasik said he would close up shop if he has no choice but to relocate. Proposals must conform to specifications in the newly adopted Downtown Newhall Specific Plan, adopted in December by the City Council. Retooled zoning codes will permit denser commercial development. Applicants will be judged by design and financial criteria. The two-step selection process begins with a review by planners, traffic engineers and designers and ends in the hands of financial advisers. The city has asked eight developers to submit proposals, but officials encourage property owners to submit their own plans. “If they are well-done proposals in keeping with the intent of plan, the city may end up working with the property owners directly – in many cases it may be the easiest course of action,” Brotzman said. “If the (developer’s proposal) is significantly better and would have a greater beneficial impact on development, the city has the responsibility to consider that proposal.” The city has committed $7 million to the renovation. About $1.6 million has been spent acquiring two properties in the area. Developers will be expected to exhaust every option in striking deals with property owners, officials have said. Several parcels may need to be bundled to create large enough spaces to accommodate big development projects. Chris Price, the city’s project manager for the redevelopment, said “we would use eminent domain to assemble properties if people don’t want to sell, but that would be the last resort.” Eminent domain is government’s power to take private property for a public use. If the city decides to “assemble” properties for a project and must invoke eminent domain, the property owners would be paid and relocated, Price said. If a developer’s project is chosen, the city would sign a development agreement with the developer. If no headway is made buying the property outright or creating a joint venture with the owner, the developer may ask the city agency to acquire the property. “The agency would negotiate with the owners and if, and only if, the negotiations are unsuccessful, the agency would consider a Resolution of Necessity, the precursor to filing an eminent domain action,” said City Attorney Joe Montes. The process, which includes a hearing, could take up to two years. Four of the five agency members would have to approve a condemnation for action to be taken. Montes said the agency cannot pre-commit to filing the action. “The agency has the absolute discretion to say, No, we’re not going to pull that trigger and the developer goes into the deal understanding that risk,” he said. Brotzman said the city hopes to work with the county library district to build an expanded library in the north civic site. While the current City Council approved the specific plan, three council seats are up for re-election in April. Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEWHALL – In order to develop three sites viewed as key to improving downtown Newhall, the city may resort to invoking eminent domain if officials aren’t satisfied with the property owners’ plans for their land. Such decisions will be up to the Santa Clarita City Council, acting as the city’s redevelopment agency. The agency will look at current uses, developer’s proposals and the property owners’ plans for high-profile sites in the deteriorating business district. “The property owners could choose to proceed or the city could do a request for proposals to develop the community project that would have the greatest impact to revitalize downtown,” said Paul Brotzman, the city’s director of community development. Two parking structures and a civic building are planned for an area spanning 32 parcels, currently in the hands of 18 property owners. last_img

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