A new bill introduced by California State Senator Darrell Steinberg has property rights advocates on alert. Senate Bill 1 would allow California cities and counties to create a "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority" to build development projects in designated areas as part of an effort to resolve statewide environmental issues.
This means that the Authority groups would be able to purchase and redevelop areas affected by air pollution, high energy and water consumption, traffic congestion, and increased cost of living via eminent domain.
The new bill essentially expands upon a previous practice. This allowed government agencies to purchase buildings or neighborhoods deemed to be suffering from blight or decay using eminent domain in order to redevelop the failing areas.
California law defines blight as a building or neighborhood deemed to be a serious physical and economic burden on the community for conditions such as:
- Unsafe or unhealthy buildings
- Impaired property values
- Excessive crime
- Inadequate enforcement of health and safety laws
However, if the new bill goes through, blight would be given such a broad definition that it could be applied to any location that does not fit the state's new climate change laws.
Opponents of the bill argue that SB 1 gives government agencies an excuse to use eminent domain, which could potentially threaten property owners throughout California and force residents to pay for more and more projects.
Protecting Property Rights
The knowledgeable attorneys at Peterson Law Group have the experience and resources to help property and business owners ranging from major corporations to smaller business and individual owners against many public agencies in California. Contact us to learn more about how we can protect your rights by calling (213) 236-9720.