2011 Senate Bill 83, which has been approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce and Government Operations, would make significant changes to the current law relating to condemnation.
At this time, public entities may condemn private property for any public purpose. The proposed legislation, however, would limit that power. Condemnation of property would be allowed only if: (1) The property would be owned, possessed or occupied for the enjoyment of a public agency or the general public; (2) The property is acquired for the establishment of a public utility; or (3) The acquisition is necessary to the elimination of blighted property.
The legislation significantly narrows the definition of "blighted property."
In order for a property to be deemed blighted, the property must have been cited for a least one violation of state or local building codes, the violations must have gone uncorrected despite two notices to correct the defect, and the cost of remedying the violation must be more than one-half the assessed value of the property, minus land value.
The fact that property is blighted must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. The bill would also eliminate the current provisions requiring the authority of redevelopment authorities to condemn be liberally construed, and eliminates the existing expedited procedure available for condemnation of certain residential properties.
The new law will make it more difficult for government to condemn property, but will also make it more difficult for businesses to acquire property from government for redevelopment purposes.