Community Redevelopment Agencies appear to have the power of domain in the areas they have determined to be under their authority.  I did a google, and they are all over Florida and in other states as well.  

There was an editorial in our paper this morning about eminent domain proceedings in Hollywood, Florida against a Bank of America parking lot and a small, family-owned business. A developer wants to build a 15 story condo.   The Republicans who control everything here have been saying not to worry, there are laws.   This shows there is not much to prevent it.  

I realize cities have been doing this for a long time in various forms, but I am now seeing how they do it many times.   This editorial pointed out something important in this one paragraph:

“How can the city condemn the property and take it without the owner’s consent? It’s in a Community Redevelopment Agency district. In that case, the city can condemn it and pay the courtdetermined land value, along with attorney’s fees, to the owner.”

Editorial today about eminent domain:

Trampling Rights for Progress

SNIP…”When the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a governmental agency could condemn property of an unwilling seller for the purpose of turning it over to a private developer to help the cause of “economic development,” Florida officials said not to worry — there are state laws to protect Floridians from such high-handed practices.
Evidently, the Hollywood City Commission hasn’t gotten the word.”

More about CRA’s, which apparently are nationwide.  

More about local CRA’s

“What is a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)?
A Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is a dependent taxing district established by City government for the purpose of carrying out redevelopment activities that include reducing or eliminating blight, improving the tax base, and encouraging public and private investments in the CRA. The City Commission is the official Community Redevelopment Agency for Lakeland.

Why create a CRA?
CRAs are created to assist local municipalities in pursuing redevelopment in targeted areas that are characterized by blight and disinvestment. By establishing a CRA, local governments are given a financial and planning mechanism by which to redevelop areas where private market forces aren’t working.”
 And they have the power of eminent domian, apparently.

One city is modernizing downtown by having this agency “quietly” buy up lands they might want in the future.  

Downtown Land to be Revamped

They stress it is blighted area.   I also checked out their other districts of control, and they are not all blighted.   Some parts include historical districts with lovely homes kept beautifully.

SNIP…“The CRA in the past several months has quietly purchased about 80 percent of the land at what officials say is fair-market prices. No public announcements were made, “because we didn’t want to create a speculative market,” said Tamara Sakagawa, a city planner.”

More from the article:
SNIP…”The project is the brainchild of the LDDA and the city’s Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency. It will be funded through the sale of bonds. The CRA has budgeted $7.8 million to purchase the land and demolish the buildings that now sit on 59 parcels of property — 10 apartment buildings, with an average of eight units each, and 52 single-family homes, duplexes and rooming houses. The property acquisition costs should be about $6 million.” END QUOTE

I did a search of other CRA’s in our city.   I live in an area of lovely old historic homes, which recently was officially declared an Historical Residential District.   Our area is not listed under CRA, but one area that is listed has a comment that chills me.   They have total authority over these areas.

The CRA is in control.

QUOTE: “The Board will seek to balance the preservation of historic resources with the desire for redevelopment in a way that benefits the entire district.”

In other words they decide whether these homes, many of which are almost 100 years old, stay or go to developers.   And it is all in place in our city now.  For years developers and those friendly to them have taken over our city and county commissions.  Now it is all coming together for them.

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