By A.J. Hazarabedian

Is 96.1 square feet too small to initiate eminent domain proceedings?  Not according to the city of Walnut Creek.

The Mercury News article, Walnut Creek may go to court for access to tiny downtown parcel,” indicates that the city needs a 96.1 square foot easement for use as pedestrian right of way.  The property is part of a larger development, where Nieman Marcus is set to open.  Per the article, there is a short retaining wall and an elevated curb which have created “a tripping hazard” and the easement would be used to eliminate the hazard.

One of the owners of the property, Joseph Giordano, states that “he is willing to go to court over the dispute if certain requirements aren’t met by the city.”  It appears that Macerich, the owners of the shopping plaza, will be paying for the easement, as they are responsible for the “hazard.”

The article suggests the City’s involvement is related to their desire to have Neiman Marcus open so they can collect on the projected thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue.  If the easement is not acquired, the project could be delayed.