Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whose Pasture?

If the city of Claremont wants to get $1 million in state money to help them buy the much ballyhooed Johnson's Pasture, they need to buy the land for a cool $11.5 million total, rather than the current, $12 million asking price. Plus, by taking the state grant, the city couldn't buy the land with the technical threat of eminent domain. Without such a "threat," the owners lose out on huge tax breaks. (Again, California land-use law and almost everything related to eminent domain gets wackier the more you look into it). Without the state grant, says Mayor Yao, Claremont will jeopardize its ability to receive help from the state in its quest for open space. All this is in Jason Newell's DB article.

Things are at a bit of impasse, to say the least. The irony here is how the issue has been used in Claremont city politics. "Claremont voters authorized the city to issue up to $12.5 million in general obligation bonds to purchase the 180-acre open-space parcel in November with the passage of Measure S." This is a sort of no-brainer issue for Claremont voters (although they did reject an earlier, messier, more costly measure attempting to do the same thing), and Measure S was surrounded with a bit o' Claremont hoopla. But unfortunately, for all the fuss and good feelings, nothing may come of it. The underlying problem is one that most of the Foothill Cities face—everyone must weave through massive amounts of regulation when it comes to the sale and use of private property, which turns the playing field for development issues into an obstacle course.


Anonymous said...

This Tuesday, the Claremont City Council plans on making a wacky kind of move. They will not be making any ruling on Medical Marijuana. Instead, they will be introducing an ordinance regarding the prohibition of businesses that contravene state and/or federal law. Way to go Mayor Yao!

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