By Sandra Stokley
RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday tentatively denied a request by a Jurupa-area park district to seize by eminent domain 4 acres owned by Rep. Ken Calvert and his partners.
The vote was 3-2 with Supervisors Roy Wilson, Jeff Stone and Marion Ashley voting against the request by the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District.
A resolution will be brought before supervisors April 8 for final approval.
The matter first came before the board Feb. 26 when supervisors deadlocked 2-2 on the request. Wilson had left the meeting earlier in the day, and supervisors were advised that they needed to bring the matter back for a decisive vote.
Calvert, R-Corona, and his partners purchased the land in 2006 from the Jurupa Community Services District in a disputed transaction. The Calvert partnership plans to build a ministorage facility there.
The park district had sought the property since at least 2001 as the site for a park or youth ball field.
When the Calvert group turned down a bid by the park district to buy the land, park district officials voted to take the land by eminent domain. They needed the supervisors’ permission before taking that action.
Wilson, who cast Tuesday’s pivotal vote, made it clear that he believed that eminent domain “should be a very last resort.”
Wilson said that ultimately the dispute was between the park district and the community services district, which failed to notify other governmental agencies — including the park district — that the land was for sale. That notification is required by California law.
Wilson said the lapse by the community services district “bothers me very much” and he said he believed the park district could make their case in court.
“I would go after those answers in court,” Wilson said.
Although Supervisor John Tavaglione, whose 2nd District includes the Jurupa area, voted to approve the request, he made it clear that his vote was a reluctant one, reiterating his belief that the park district was “going down the wrong path.”
Park district board member Sheryl Schmidt said after the meeting that Tavaglione “doesn’t know or care to know what paths we have looked at.”
Park district general manager Dan Rodriguez said that his board of directors will consider their options in a closed session during their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday night.
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