House OKs bill addressing flaws in eminent domain laws: Salt Lake City UT Deseret News, 2/22/07

An eminent domain bill that addresses flaws with existing laws governing redevelopment agencies passed the House Wednesday.

The bill, which sponsoring Rep. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, said is "layered with a lot of protections," gives property owners and surrounding residents more leeway when it comes to blighted property in their area.

"This is a tough balancing act," he told representatives. "How do we deal with blighted areas? How do we do it so we're protecting the rights of property owners?"

Cities can still declare areas blighted under existing law. But the bill, HB365, provides tools for property owners who wanted to improve an area.

Under the bill, if 75 percent of the property owners who control at least 50 percent of the property value within the urban renewal project petition the agency, then the city can acquire blighted property by eminent domain without an owner's consent.

The bill now moves on to the Senate.

Salt Lake City UT Deseret News: http://deseretnews.com