By A.J. Hazarabedian
The Vista City Council, together with the Community Development Commission, will consider adoption of a Resolution of Necessity to acquire the Riviera Motel property, located at 242 Vista Village Drive, by eminent domain. The hearing will be held tomorrow – Tuesday, December 8, 2009.
The Resolution of Necessity will be heard in conjunction with an Acquisition Disposition and Development Agreement with North County Ford. According to the City’s agenda report, North County Ford approached the City about moving to a smaller location “due to changes in the auto industry”. Because the dealership owns additional parcels along Vista Way, the City has agreed to purchase the properties from North County Ford and then lease the land back to them, while moving the dealership to a new facility on an adjacent site.
The City contends that including the Riviera Motel into the project is not for the benefit of North County Ford, but rather is an effort to continue the elimination of blight and further the redevelopment of the Vista Village Drive Corridor.
According to the North County Times article, “VISTA: City plans to buy North County Ford property,” Panjak Desai, who owns the motel, feels that the City should give him money to improve the motel rather than simply acquire it by eminent domain. Desai plans to address the City Council at tomorrow’s meeting.
Commentary from A.J. Hazarabedian:
Taking property by eminent domain to benefit an auto dealership might create jobs and increase local tax revenues, but is one of those uses of eminent domain which should be examined carefully. Is this truly a taking for public use, or is the City instead using eminent domain for private benefit and to benefit its own coffers? Eminent domain for the elimination of true blight may well be appropriate as a public use; eminent domain for the sole purposes of benefiting a private auto dealer and increasing local tax revenues is questionable.