Newport Beach moves forward with eminent domain law: Orange County (CA) Register, 4/12/06

The city plans to restrict its ability to seize private property to allow different commercial development

By Jeff Overley

[Newport beach CA] Officials late Tuesday voted to move forward with a law that would curb the city’s use of eminent domain.

The City Council unanimously backed a plan that would bar Newport Beach from seizing private property to allow different commercial development.

It’s a response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision where justices said condemning private property to allow new business could in some cases provide a larger public benefit and was therefore lawful.

Under the proposed Newport Beach law, condemnations that pave the way the way for purely public projects, such as roads or water pipelines, would still be legitimate.

In the short-term, the council aims to adopt a law banning the practice. But wary that future councils could overturn the vote, officials plan to place a measure on the fall ballot to amend the city charter and enshrine the law for good.

Orange County Register: http://www.ocregister.com