Fontana to consider eminent domain: San Bernardino County (CA) Sun, 5/18/05

By Kelly Rayburn

The [Fontana CA] City Council likely will decide June 7 whether to give the redevelopment agency authority to use eminent domain in large parts of the town's north end.

A public hearing drew minimal public protest Tuesday evening.

At issue is a proposed amendment to the North Fontana Redevelopment Plan that would give the agency the right to take private land in the name of a greater public good in three areas of north Fontana areas the city leaders say have been slow to develop compared to the rest of Fontana's fast-growing north end.

At the meeting Tuesday, Ray Bragg, Fontana's redevelopment and special projects director, sought to make clear that the agency has no plans as of yet to actually use eminent domain.

"It's just a matter of getting it on the books so as a last-resort negotiating tool it's there if necessary,' he said.

The roughly 8,960-acre North Fontana Redevelopment Project Area was created in 1982 and the agency had the authority to use eminent domain within it through 1994, when it expired under state law.

Property owners both within and near the three areas have expressed uneasiness about the amendment, but Tuesday only one showed up to air his concerns.

Larry Bonanno, who owns land in one of the three areas and on which the city would like to build an auto mall, reiterated his protest of including his property in the proposal. He said his property already has all the infrastructure needed for development.

Though mostly quiet at the meeting, some elected officials, including Mayor Mark Nuaimi, have indicated their support for the amendment.

San Bernardino County Sun: www.sbsun.com