Auburn council nixes expropriation benefiting private developers: Auburn CA Journal, 7/11/07

By Gus Thomson

The Auburn City Council has sent a clear message that it isn't planning to use expropriation powers at the expense of local property owners.

On Monday, the council voted 5-0 vote in a late-night decision to bar the Auburn Urban Development Authority from expropriating land to turn over to a private developer.

The council is required to develop a plan that includes a description of potential uses of eminent domain to acquire property in the city's redevelopment area. That portion of the city now takes in areas skirting Nevada Street, as well as Old Town and Downtown. Councilmembers opted for a proposal that leaves the opportunity open to expropriate land for public purposes like road widening and schools.

But any expropriation of privately held land to benefit another private entity will be forbidden.

The council faced a crowd of about 80 people on Monday - all in favor of a clear decision keeping current and future councils from using eminent domain to take land from one property owner at market value to turn over to another private entity.

Councilman Kevin Hanley said not having that check on eminent domain would lead officials to make judgments on properties that favor a major developer over a smaller, locally owned "mom and pop" business.

Auburn CA Journal: http://www.auburnjournal.com