By Leslie Parrilla

Corona city officials plan to extend their eminent domain authority for 12 years over a downtown area filled primarily with businesses.

Hundreds of businesses are in the Main and Sixth Street area covered by the action. Not included would be residential properties within the Merged Redevelopment Project Areas, said Darrell Talbert, director of the city redevelopment agency. Under eminent domain, government can take property for a public use, such as for utilities and highways. The owner of the property is entitled to compensation for the land, usually determined by the fair market value. Corona would use the authority to take blighted properties and redevelop them.

City officials say they have no specific or immediate plans for the downtown redevelopment area or to use eminent domain, but rather to have it available as a tool, if needed.

“There are times when you have to use those authorities to finish a piece or turn around an area,” Talbert said. “There’s not a specific plan or project in front of us for the moment. We’re still moving all those areas toward a higher and better use.”

A representative of Bridgestone tires objected to the amendment, asking that Bridgestone be removed from the project area or not be subject to eminent domain, according to a city staff report. The city denied the request.

Bridgestone said the redevelopment project area is not predominantly blighted, which is required to use eminent domain.

No other businesses have objected to the amendment, Talbert said, adding that city staff has been conducting community outreach to residents and businesses, explaining how the process works.

A public hearing on the matter is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Corona City Council Chambers, 400 S. Vicentia Ave.

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