When one thinks of California the thousands and thousands of acres of “blight” don’t normally come to mind amidst visions of beaches, redwoods and, perhaps, traffic. All that officially designated “blight” translates to billions and billions of dollars of tax money for California redevelopment agencies, which sit on vast areas of supposedly “blighted” property for decades while little actual redevelopment occurs. Because California’s definitions of blight, updated in 2006, continue to be manipulated with ease by creative local officials, almost any property in the state can meet someone’s definition of blight.
This would be bad enough in any state, but the strict rules California has for property owners who have the wherewithal to challenge a proposed blight designation make California one of the worst states for property owners. Property owners in an affected area get one chance about every decade to challenge one of these designations; for the rest of the time, properties sit vulnerable to eminent domain for private development.
Given this very precarious situation for California property owners, the Castle Coalition decided to bring together all of its data along with research done by others at the Institute for Justice into this one comprehensive study on eminent domain in California, California Scheming: What Every Californian Should Know About Eminent Domain Abuse.
Along with the statistics are the ways property owners can defend themselves and the ways in which officials on the state and local level can truly reform California’s redevelopment laws.
Arlington, Va.—“With more than 700 redevelopment areas, hundreds of documented abuses of eminent domain since 2001, and tens of thousands of properties threatened by eminent domain, California is one of the states most in need of real eminent domain reform,” declares the latest report from the Institute for Justice, California Scheming: What Every Californian Should…