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Daily Real Estate News  |  August 24, 2005  |   Calif.: A Measured Approach to Eminent Domain California lawmakers have introduced two state bills in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court eminent domain ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, Conn., but the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSŪ is taking a measured approach to the issue. “Some local redevelopment agencies have become very aggressive in condemning property in eminent domain proceedings, but the high court's ruling is still too fresh and too complex an issue,” said Ron Kingston, CAR's lobbyist. "It's unfamiliar territory and we don't need to respond this quickly." In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that New London, Conn., had the authority to seize homes for a private development project but recognized the power of states to ban the practice as they see fit. At least eight states, including California, already prohibit eminent domain under certain conditions, and California is among another handful of states considering additional legislative responses to the Supreme Court's ruling. California’s current law allows local governments to seize private property, but only for development that includes public use. One of the recently introduced bills (AB 590) would further define "public use" to exclude private business development. The second bill (SCA 15) would amend the state constitution to prevent eminent domain seizures for other than court-approved public use and would grant the original owner first acquisition rights should the property's use cease being for the state public purpose. CAR has not taken a position on either bill. “A great deal of research and analysis has to be done in order to respond," Kingston says. —By Broderick Perkins for REALTORŪ Magazine Online Editor's Note: To learn more about the Kelo v. City of New London, Conn., eminent domain ruling and what it means for real estate practitioners, go to’s new eminent domain page, which includes analysis, news coverage, and a link to the Supreme Court opinion.

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