Encinitas to curb its power of eminent domain: San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune, 7/15/05

By Angela Lau

The [Encinitas] City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to restrict the city's power to take private property.

The council formed a subcommittee of council members Jerome Stocks and Christy Guerin to draft an ordinance and to report back at an unspecified date.

The decision came in the aftermath of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that gives cities power to take private property to help private developers assemble land for economic development.

The fear of eminent domain resonates deeply among Leucadia residents, who recently fought off a city proposal to form a redevelopment agency – which often possesses eminent-domain power – to rebuild the community's drainage system.

Wednesday night, Stocks – who initiated the discussion – suggested that the council pass a law requiring a public vote with a majority greater than two-thirds to approve any city condemnation of private property for private projects.

"I want to render it virtually impossible," he said.

Gene Chapo, a member of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas, urged the council to pass such a law.

"The Self-Realization Fellowship is the largest contiguous land owner in the city. Probably not a day goes by when the (fellowship) is not approached by developers," Chapo said.

San Diego Union-Tribune: www.signonsandiego.com