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CALIFORNIA EMINENT DOMAIN LAW BLOG

Inland acres in LA power path: The Press-Enterprise, 6/25/08

ENERGY DELIVERY: Six possible utility routes include razing up to 3,500 houses or infringing on wildland.

By Jennifer Bowles and Imran Ghori

A transmission route being considered by Los Angeles to carry renewable energy from the Salton Sea could lead to the condemnation of 3,500 homes and other properties in the Inland region to make way for the needed transmission lines.

The district is seeking energy from solar and wind sources, but is chiefly hoping to capture geothermal energy, which is generated by heat stored beneath the Earth’s surface.

Known as Green Path North, the project has already generated criticism from environmentalists and local lawmakers for one of its six possible transmission routes because it would go through the Morongo Valley and some desert preserves west of Joshua Tree National Park.

But a portion of one path under consideration runs through a heavily urbanized area straddling Riverside and San Bernardino counties — between Interstate 10 and Highway 60, from Interstate 215 to Interstate 15 before the path turns north along Interstate 15 and heads toward the Cajon Pass.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power might have to launch eminent domain proceedings to make room for the transmission line in the area, which from a map appears to cross into Rialto, Colton and Fontana, among other areas.

Utility officials could not be more specific about the path’s location other than a broad swath through the area. They cautioned that all routes are preliminary and could change.

“We’ll put it out there for public dialogue — is it a feasible thing to do, to go out and condemn 3,500 properties?” said H. David Nahai, general manager of the Los Angeles utility.

“That kind of disruption is daunting to say the least and we’re a governmental agency,” he said. “We like to think that we operate with a conscience and we want to do the right thing by people.”

Nahai said there is no estimated cost for that route or any that are being considered. All paths would carry the energy to a new substation in Hesperia, where existing transmission lines already go to Los Angeles and would not require any further construction or condemnation of properties.

Nahai said the utility was planning workshops in the Inland region to address concerns about the project. The first one is set for July 19 in the Morongo Valley. A meeting location has not been set.

Local Reaction

The Los Angeles utility earlier this month sent letters to supervisors in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties to say they want to meet with them and that the utility wants “to move forward with the environmental review of the project through a very open and transparent process.”

John Field, chief of staff for Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, who was out of town, confirmed that a letter explaining the project and requesting a meeting was received. But he said there was no map to indicate the transmission paths under consideration. A map shows the line could skirt the northern edge of western Riverside County.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger said he was skeptical about the utility’s claim that as many as 3,500 homes would have be condemned to allow for the transmission lines in the Colton, Rialto and Fontana areas.

“They certainly haven’t tried to document for us whether that statement is true,” he said.

Hansberger said he believes there is enough room in the corridor to accommodate the expanded lines.

Roger Sullivan, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in eminent domain issues, said unless the utility has received authority from the state through special legislation it will be no simple task to condemn property outside its boundaries. The passage of Prop. 99 earlier this month, which placed further restrictions on the use of eminent domain, makes it even harder to take single-family homes, he said.

“They’ve got a very tough task ahead of them,” Sullivan said.

Nahai said the Department of Water and Power is in talks with Southern California Edison to see if it can share a utility corridor along Interstate 10 that is already established but that it only goes so far.

“We’re in discussion to see if there’s some way of sharing that corridor up to a certain point, but even at that point, the route would then have to go through densely urban areas,” he said.

Sandi Blain, Edison’s manager of project licensing, said the I-10 corridor begins in the Palm Springs area and heads west, splintering off into different directions. One line, she said, connects to a substation in Mira Loma, she said.

Blain said Edison will meet with DWP on Monday for preliminary discussions. She said Edison is in a data-collecting mode to determine whether it would even be possible to accommodate DWP’s request.

“Building transmission is a really complex process,” she said. “It takes a good amount of time to really evaluate.”

San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales, whose district includes Rialto, Colton and parts of Fontana, said she would prefer a project that would have the least impact to the community.

Gonzales said she hadn’t been told about the potential taking of so many parcels and was concerned about the economic impact it would have on those cities.

“The people need to know why they’re making the sacrifice,” she said. “What’s in it for them? What’s in it for the people I represent?”

Both supervisors said they welcome the promised briefing from the utility district but said they have not been contacted about when it would be held or what form it would take.

Forest Route

Valerie Baca, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino National Forest, said the Los Angeles utility was planning to meet with forest officials this Friday. She said forest officials have no information yet but a map shows one route going along the edge of the forest.

April Sall, executive chairwoman of the California Desert Coalition, a group formed to oppose the utility’s proposed route through the Morongo Valley, was critical of that forest route because it cuts through the headquarters of the Wildlands Conservancy, a nonprofit organization in Oak Glen. That option violates a promise made by Nahai to the conservancy, said Sall, who is the manager of the conservancy’s Pioneertown Mountains Preserve.

Sall was also skeptical of the utility’s claim that 3,500 homes would have to be taken along the existing path.

She said she believes the utility is trying to make the proposal through the Morongo Valley seem more palatable than the urban route that could destroy people’s homes.

What It’s About

The Green Path North project would initially aim to generate 800 megawatts, or enough energy to power about 520,000 homes.

Nahai said that Los Angeles, like most California cities, is under pressure by the state’s 2006 global-warming law to reduce their dependence on coal-generated electricity. It is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change.

“The need is undeniable,” Nahai said. “I don’t think anyone seriously disputes that Los Angeles needs to access the bountiful geothermal power and solar resources in the Salton Sea area.”

“The question, of course, becomes how to bring that power to Los Angeles with the least environmental impact.”

Nahai said that geothermal energy is a constant source, whereas the sun doesn’t always shine and wind doesn’t always blow to generate those renewable energies. Los Angeles gets 8 percent of its power from renewable energies and has set a goal of 20 percent by 2010 and 35 percent by 2020, he said.

“We’re trying to diversify away from coal so as to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Nahai said. “That’s both the right thing to do and it’s a requirement under (state law) AB 32 as well.”

The Press-Enterprise: http://www.pe.com

City moves ahead on underpass: Whittier Daily News, 6/12/08

By Airan Scruby

PICO RIVERA – City officials say they are ready to proceed with a $43.4 million plan to tunnel under railroad tracks on Passons Boulevard, creating an underpass for traffic.

In the process, residents of five houses and the 90-unit Rivera Villa apartment complex will be relocated, and their homes demolished.

“It’s probably the biggest single public construction project either in the history of the city or in a long, long time,” Senior Analyst Ceci Chang said.

The project is being paid for with state money and by Caltrans, Burlington North Santa Fe Railway and with federal funds.

The city will not contribute money, Chang said, but it will be the lead agency on the project, bringing in construction contracts and collaborating with a consulting firm on relocating residents.

Moving people from their homes and buying their property will be the first phase of the project, Chang said, and should begin in early July.

“We have retained a consultant to help us with that,” Assistant City Manager Jeff Prang said. “Since we’re basically doing this through eminent domain.”

Though eminent domain was outlawed in cases of redevelopment in the city in the 1990s, Prang said this situation is a safety issue. The tracks, located near schools, have been the site of accidents and, in 2005, an El Rancho High School student was struck and killed by a train while walking home.

Whittier Daily News: http://www.whittierdailynews.com

Prop. 98 backers to ask California lawmakers to expand eminent domain limits: Los Angeles Times, 6/5/08

By Patrick McGreevy

SACRAMENTO — Backers of the defeated Proposition 98, which would have phased out rent control and broadly limited government’s ability to take private property, vowed Wednesday to take the eminent domain issue to the state Capitol, in hopes of persuading legislators to do what voters would not.

At the same time, Tuesday’s voter approval of Proposition 99, a more limited measure that protects owner-occupied residences from eminent domain, is forcing Baldwin Park officials to consider scaling back a 125-acre commercial development to exclude land now occupied by 81 homes.

“It may have to be smaller, but the rest of the project will not be affected,” Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano said Wednesday.

He added that the city’s attorneys will be reviewing the effect of Proposition 99 on the San Gabriel Valley development project. The project would have been jeopardized if Proposition 98 had passed, Lozano said.

In an election that saw a dismal 22.2% turnout, a record low according to preliminary figures from the California secretary of state, Proposition 99, a measure that did not change rent control, won with 62.5% of the vote.

Some provisional ballots had not yet been counted.

The uncounted ballots could boost the turnout figure to about 27%, still well below the previous record low, said Stephen Weir, the Contra Costa County clerk-recorder who heads the statewide association of elections officials.

Nicole Winger, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen, said the previous low was 33.6%, in 2006.

One factor in Tuesday’s turnout may have been the decision to hold the presidential primary in February, rather than combine it with the legislative primary, Winger said.

Los Angeles County had the lowest turnout in the state, at 16.3%, another possible record. The largest turnout, 63.7%, was in Alpine County.

Only 39% of voters statewide favored Proposition 98, a measure by landlord groups that would have phased out rent control and barred government agencies from using eminent domain to force the sale of homes, businesses and farmland for private development.

Proposition 98 carried 20 of the 58 counties, all of them rural areas with low numbers of voters. The largest margins of defeat were in urban areas with large numbers of voters, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco counties.

“They had a narrow base of support and ours was broad,” said Tom Adams, president of the California League of Conservation Voters, who noted that the California Chamber of Commerce and California Building Industry Assn. joined with environmental groups and progressive organizations to oppose Proposition 98.

Backers of Proposition 98 said Wednesday that they would now ask legislators to expand restrictions on eminent domain powers.

“Those issues are not dead,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. “We will work in any forum we can to get enhanced property rights in California.”

Last year, the Legislature took up a measure that would have restricted local governments from acquiring homes, farmland and churches through eminent domain for the purpose of conveying the property to a private party. But it failed.

“I think people in the Legislature are going to feel that the voters have settled this issue,” Adams said.

Barbara Gonzalez hopes that includes rent control. She woke up Wednesday in her Echo Park apartment with a great sense of relief that California voters had spurned a rollback of the rent-control law that she is certain stands between her and the street.

Gonzalez, 49, lives with her grown daughter and her daughter’s husband in a two-bedroom apartment that costs $750 per month under rent control. Her son-in-law and daughter, who is expecting, would like to move out, but they cannot afford apartments suitable for the young family, Gonzalez said.

“It’s a huge relief,” she said of the defeat of Proposition 98. “I was very, very scared. I was scared because of my family. I’m a low-income person. I don’t know what I would do without rent control.”

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com

Impact of Prop. 99 passage could affect future development:Pasadena-Star News, 6/4/08

By Dan Abendschein

Californians easily passed an eminent domain ballot measure Tuesday that will protect some residential properties from being seized by the government.

Proposition 99′s passage could affect the future of a proposed multimillion-dollar project in Baldwin Park that could include a hotel, a 1,000-student charter school and luxury housing.

Marko Mlikotin, president of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, said that what happens with that project could determine how Proposition 99 is implemented.

“Right now Baldwin Park is ground zero for the state in determining what kind of protections Proposition 99 offers,” said Mlikotin, adding that he was concerned that the city might find ways around the new law.

More than 200 businesses and homes would be forced to relocate for the 125-acre project along Maine Avenue and Ramona Boulevard.

Affected residents and homeowners had been hoping that voters would pass Proposition 98, which would have protected businesses, homes, farms and churches from seizures.

That ballot measure was voted down by a little more than 60 percent of voters, about the same amount who voted for Proposition 99.

The same groups that opposed Proposition 98 backed Proposition 99, which restricts protections just to homes that are not being rented out and also does not apply to people who have owned their home for less then a year.

Prop. 99 will not protect the businesses from being taken for the project, and opinions vary on what protection it gives homes.

Mlikotin said his group hopes to close “loopholes” in the proposition through legislation.

A representative of the company behind the Baldwin Park project, Bisno Development Co., said he expected that the proposition would not change the project’s scope.

“We’re just glad that 98 was properly defeated,” said John DeClercq, Bisno’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. “We’d anticipated that (Prop.) 99 would be successful and we expect the plan to go forward.”

The text of Prop. 99 would seem to protect the homes: one of its amendments says that “local governments are prohibited from acquiring by eminent domain an owner-occupied residence for the purpose of conveying it to a private person.” It establishes that a development company would qualify as a private person.

However, one exception to the rule would be for a public-works project, like a school, which could be included in Baldwin Park’s development.

The law also says that property can be taken for “public use,” which in the past has been interpreted to mean economic redevelopment, according to a ballot analysis by the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Brandon Castillo, a campaign consultant for Proposition 99, said the measure ensures the safety of Baldwin Park homes.

“I would absolutely suggest that Baldwin Park residents use their new constitutional protections in court if the city does not follow the new rules,” said Castillo.

James Treasure, the president of a coalition of business owners and residents who oppose the plan, said he is not reassured by the passage of Proposition 99.

“The struggle continues for us,” said Treasure, a Baldwin Park business owner who supported Proposition 98. “But right now we expect the city to prevail.”

Baldwin Park city officials said they were uncertain what Proposition 99 will mean for the project, though all were happy that Proposition 98 was defeated.

“The way Proposition 99 is presented it appears to protect the homeowners,” said Mayor Manuel Lozano. “I’m just elated that 98 was defeated.”

Lozano said the city would seek an opinion from its attorney on whether residences will be protected from eminent domain seizures.

Baldwin Park is not the only local city to have faced opposition for eminent domain seizures. Arcadia residents voted last year in a city ordinance, Measure B, to stop the city from seizing local businesses or homes for economic development.

Manny Romero, the owner of a bar and grill on Huntington Drive, was one of several business owners who balked at giving up his business for the expansion of a local auto dealer. He sponsored a more-extensive proposition, Measure A, that would have banned auto dealers from the block altogether.

Though Measure A failed, the publicity from the issue attracted enough attention to get Measure B passed, and Romero’s business is now safe. He laments that Proposition 98 failed.

“I’m sad about the loss of Proposition 98, because what happened to me could happen to others,” said Romero. “My business is safe but it was very hard… it cost me a lot of money, stress and time.”

Pasadena-Star News: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com

Residents fight county on redevelopment: Contra Costa Times, 6/9/08

By Paul Burgarino

John Stoneking says he has been under siege by the county for the past two decades.

Stoneking, a 61-year resident in the Orbisonia Heights area of Bay Point, has fought plans by the county’s Redevelopment Agency to redevelop his 7.6-acre neighborhood near Bailey Road into a transit-oriented housing and commercial area. He says property owners have been unfairly targeted for blight and added that owners didn’t want to invest in their homes only to be bought out.

He is not alone. While the county has reached agreements with most homeowners to buy their property and assist them in relocating, a handful of neighbors are still unsatisfied. Stoneking said they are weighing their options, including legal action.

Karen Laws, the principal real property agent in the county’s public works department, said the county and relocation firm Overland Pacific have been working on presenting several available properties to the remaining homeowners.

The homeowners are entitled to relocation benefits, including moving expenses, rent differentials and setting up amenities and utilities, she said.

Some homeowners also said their property values are being shortchanged by the county. Appraisals take into account the highest and best land use for a property, Laws said. Property owners can also hire their own appraiser with county money.

“We try to make where they move as good or better,” she said. “If you look at where some of the old property owners have been moved to, I think there has been a betterment.”

The money used to acquire the properties is from capital bonds issued in May 2007. Acquisition costs are estimated at $21 million to $23 million, said Maureen Toms, a county planner.

Approximately 28 homeowners lived in the area near Ambrose Park when the county originally started buying properties in the mid-1980s. Homeowners still living there estimate that seven to nine remain.

Stoneking said he submitted an offer to the county last week to relocate to homes in the nearby Lawlor Estates subdivision.

His property is worth more than where he would relocate and the Lawlor homes “are sitting empty anyway,” Stoneking said. The county’s public works department received his request.

Stoneking’s frustration has grown to the point where he sees nothing positive about the approval in last week’s election of Proposition 99, which prohibits public agencies from uprooting them unjustly. Homeowners placed handmade signs atop the roofs of several of the older, dilapidated homes off Bailey Road just south of Highway 4 with spray-painted messages in favor of the proposition.

“They’ll just change the wording from eminent domain to blighted housing, and they’ll be let off the hook for liability,” Stoneking said. “Proposition 99 doesn’t change a damn thing.”

When asked about Proposition 99 before the vote, Redevelopment Director James Kennedy said: “From our perspective, it doesn’t really have an effect on our policy goal. We’re still negotiating with current property owners and still expect to reach settlement with all owners.”

That is still the case, he said last week.

So far, the county hasn’t used or threatened to use eminent domain but rather has “reached agreements slowly but surely,” Kennedy said.

In May, four of the existing vacated properties were demolished, Toms said. Five more are scheduled for demolition later this month, following asbestos abatement.

At this point, the Orbisonia Heights project is only in the planning phase. The county is waiting until the economy shows signs of improvement before moving forward with a request for proposal from developing firms, Kennedy said.

The hope is that the project would yield 325 high-density housing units along with roughly 40,000 square feet of commercial space for either retail or business park use, Toms said.

If the county doesn’t accept resident plans, Stoneking said he’s ready to get aggressive.

“We’ll get lawyers involved and be relocated to Lafayette, where it’s a little more sophisticated,” he said.

Contra Costa Times: http://www.contracostatimes.com

Survey indicates public support for seizure of lot by Jurupa-area parks district: The Press-Enterprise, 6/6/06

By Sandra Stokley

GLEN AVON – Jurupa park officials, thwarted by Riverside County supervisors in their bid to seize property improperly sold to Congressman Ken Calvert and his partners, are taking a different route to obtain the land.

With the backing of California law, the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District will proceed with a plan to seek permission to use eminent domain directly from constituents.

Eminent domain is the process by which a government entity may seize property from an owner unwilling to sell, providing the owner is paid fair market value for the property.

Park district directors have authorized a special, mail-in-ballot election asking residents to vote “yes” or “no” on whether the four acres of Mira Loma property should be taken to be developed as ball fields.

The special election will cost about $50,000.

“I don’t really care,” Calvert partner Woodrow Harpole said of this latest effort by the park district. “It doesn’t make any difference.”

“There are much better properties available,” he said. The developers planned to build a mini-storage facility on the property.

Park board president Robert “Bobby” Hernandez said the district needs to stand up for what’s right.

“Somewhere along the way somebody has to take responsibility for the community,” Hernandez said. “The park district feels the community deserves a park there.”

Hernandez said the results of a telephone and mail-in survey show community support for the park district’s efforts to resolve the issue.

The survey was mailed to about 16,000 voters and received about 1,800 responses, said Dan Rodriguez, park district general manager. About 90 percent of respondents said they would vote for authorizing eminent domain.

The mail-in survey cost the district $15,000, Rodriguez said.

The dispute over the land was triggered in 2006 when the Jurupa Community Services District sold it to Calvert, R-Corona, and his partners without state-required notification to other governmental agencies that the Limonite Avenue property was on the market.

The park district had sought the land since at least 2001 for a park or a youth sports field.

A Riverside County grand jury concluded last summer that the community services district did not follow state law and recommended that the district turn over to the park district the $1.2 million it pocketed from the sale of the land. That recommendation was not followed.

Earlier this year, park district officials asked the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to authorize the use of eminent domain to seize the land. In March, supervisors voted down that request with a 3-2 vote.

Rodriguez said he could understand people having concerns about the expenditure of park district funds on a ballot measure with an uncertain outcome.

“Fifty thousand dollars is OK but anything more would be difficult for me to accept,” Rodriguez said. “However I believe from the input we’ve received from the community, that the probability of it passing would be high.”

The Press-Enterprise: http://www.pe.com

Seaside council approves revival of eminent domain: Monterey County Herald, 6/6/08

But passage of Prop. 99 limits hotel project

By Laith Agha

The Seaside City Council voted unanimously Thursday to revive its power of eminent domain within areas earmarked for redevelopment, although the recent passing of Proposition 99 put a major snag in a hotel project within one of the zones proposed by former baseball star Reggie Jackson.

Mayor Ralph Rubio said eminent domain is a power that should not be abused, but can be effective for accomplishing redevelopment goals that benefit homeowners, business owners and the greater community.

“To throw out this important tool,” Rubio said, “is not the proper way to go.”

Proposition 99, passed this week by 62 percent of state voters, restricts government from using eminent domain to take private single-family homes to benefit private developers, though it does allow government to acquire commercial and industrial properties through eminent domain.

Jackson’s development team had proposed a hotel project on a 5.7-acre portion of the city’s redevelopment area that includes 17 houses. The use of eminent domain, a power the city had until it expired in April, had been considered to allow the project to become a reality. The city could have theoretically used eminent domain to acquire any and all properties within the area and transfer them to Jackson.

But under Proposition 99, if any homeowners within that area refused to sell to Jackson, the current proposal could be stymied.

The hotel project was not discussed during Thursday’s council meeting.

The council’s vote came after the redevelopment zone’s Project Area Committee — a citizen advisory group selected in January to represent residents and businesses in the area near the project — voted 7-1 in May against the renewal of eminent domain powers in the project area.

The committee had called the use of eminent domain for private development an abuse of power.

The committee’s decision meant it will take a vote of at least four of the five council members, instead of a simple majority of three, to restore the eminent domain authority.

A 2006 state law limits a city’s use of eminent domain to 12 years within a designated area. Seaside’s merged-project area, which covers 40 acres in the southwest portion of the city, was designated in 1996 and expired this year.

The City Council approved an exclusive negotiating agreement in 2007 with RLJ Development and management company Amador Hotel 44 to pursue the 252-room hotel complex at Del Monte and Canyon Del Rey boulevards.

The proposed hotel site has 17 residences, four businesses and a church that would have to be removed to make way for the project, either voluntarily or through eminent domain. Jackson owns about a half-acre of the site.

Monterey County Herald: http://www.montereyherald.com

City of Riverside acquires land from unwilling family: The Press-Enterprise, 5/30/08

By Doug Haberman

RIVERSIDE – The city of Riverside’s Redevelopment Agency has settled three eminent domain lawsuits filed against the Garner family for properties the agency wants to see redeveloped.

The cost was $5,894,680 for a total of 2.4 acres in three locations, Development Director Belinda Graham said.

The agency paid almost $3.5 million for 1.7 acres on Merrill Avenue across from the Riverside Plaza, more than $2 million for the old Ab Brown garage site — about six-tenths of an acre — on Lime Street at University Avenue, and $350,000 for a narrow, 4,000-square-foot parking lot next to the old Imperial Hardware building on Main Street near University Avenue.

Public agencies use eminent domain to acquire private property from owners unwilling to sell. They typically employ it to buy land for public uses, such as parks, libraries and street-widening projects, but they can also use eminent domain for redevelopment projects.

When the City Council, acting as the agency board, approved the eminent domain suits against the Garners in 2006, the justification was that their properties were blighted — the Merrill property held boarded-up buildings and the garage was run-down — or not being used to their full potential in the case of the parking lot.

“We’re happy we were able to come to terms with the family,” Assistant City Manager Michael Beck said. “We’re enthusiastic about the parcels playing a more vital role in the city’s economy.”

But Carlsbad resident Sarah Garner, whose family owned the land, said they accepted less money than the land was worth to avoid going to trial.

“We feel like we were taken advantage of, to say the least,” she said.

The whole affair was disappointing because the family had plans for each parcel, Garner said, and the lawsuits put an end to those plans.

While there are tax advantages to having property acquired by eminent domain, Garner said, it will be almost impossible to reinvest the proceeds in parcels that have as much potential as the parcels they were forced to sell.

The Redevelopment Agency demolished the buildings on Merrill and put in a parking lot.

It also demolished the Ab Brown garage and for now will probably put in a parking lot to replace the parking lot that is cater-corner, which in turn will be replaced by the new downtown fire station, Graham said.

On Merrill, the agency acquired all the parcels between the VIP Nightclub and the America’s Tire Co. and solicited proposals for redeveloping the land.

The only responsive bid came from the owners of Riverside Plaza, Graham said.

Her department is evaluating the proposal.

Councilman William “Rusty” Bailey, whose ward includes the plaza and Merrill, said he likes the proposal, which would involve rerouting part of Merrill along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to allow the mall to expand to the north.

As for the narrow parking lot on Main at University, it would probably become part of any redevelopment of the Imperial Hardware site, Graham said.

The city has not solicited developer proposals for that parcel and has yet to evaluate the condition of the building to see how much it might cost to make it reusable, she said.

Councilman Mike Gardner, whose ward includes downtown, said he doesn’t believe the Imperial Hardware building is as attractive as other old buildings downtown, outside or inside, so he would not be averse to a new three- or four-story building there.

But “I’d want to see what city residents think,” he said.

The Press-Enterprise: http://www.pe.com

COPYRIGHT © 2010 Arthur J. Hazarabedian, Esq.