Friday, May 26, 2006

If Centerville Had Only Thought of This...

Wow, now that takes guts (or lack of brains, which is what guts or courage is sometimes defined as!).

The small city of Hercules, California had developed a plan for a portion of its community (it's historice waterfront area) as a pedestrian-oriented village with high-end shops and homes. However, Wal-Mart acquired a 17-acre parcel in the middle of the area, and have been seeking to gain approval for a 100,000 square foot store.

Don't know if the city was precluded from denying a permit because of pre-existing regulations or what, but apparently the city felt the only way they could stop the large box plan was with a vote to begin condemnation proceedings to acquire Wal-Mart's property.

If Centerville had only thought of this earlier! But hey, Wal-Mart hasn't started building yet, so it's still not too late!


At 5:02 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

Wilf, it's funny that you bring that up.

The parcel on which Wal-Mart is going to build on in Centerville is actually part of the RDA project area that was created back in 1989, after they did that "blight" study.

I'm no expert on how and why cities have condemned land in RDA project areas in the past, but possibly, before SB184 was passed in 2005, Centerville could have condemned the Wal-Mart property. Because after all, the property was declared "blighted."

But of course Centerville doesn't have 10 million dollars lying around that could be used to buy 22 acres of prime commercial real estate, so...

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

I apologize for the extra "on" in the second sentence.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger vagabond said...

Centerville, at that time, was pretty loathe to use ED for even the most minimal application at all. And, of course, did not have the $ to pay for the land any way, so the use of ED for that purpose was a moot point.

However, it should be noted that the city had adopted a specific master plan for the "Wal Mart" site that called for a town center/village development.

Wouldn't it have been nice if the city had just followed that plan?

The problem in Centerville is like that of many other cities and towns in Utah; no courage, no vision. Perhaps it is time for the state to look at requiring local planning decisions to follow adopted master plans.

You know, put your money where your mouth is.

What good are long range plans if short range planning is not consistent with the greater vision?

Centerville lost out on a truly unique and innovative planned community because people were ignorant and apathetic.

When Wal Mart was proposed in Center(less)ville the storm of public controversy over it was enormous. The public was/is violently against Wal Mart.

How can that be? Where was the public support for the "village" when it was proposed?

Just goes to show that people rarely know what they want as much as what they know they don't want.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

You hit it right on the head vagabond.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Former Centerville Citizen said...

Vagabond, you said:

"Centerville, at that time, was pretty loathe to use ED for even the most minimal application at all."

It's funny how taboo eminent domain is. Yes, it has been abused, but I think that some people's dislike of it goes a little too far. When I pointed out that the City could use ED in accordance with state law to acquire land to expand Centerville's cemetery, people reacted by saying that it would set a bad precedent, and that then the City would start going around condemning other property too.

Provo actually threatened to condemn land owned by Union Pacific in order to expand their cemetery. Perhaps Provo considered it reasonable to condemn land for that use, and wasn't afraid to use that tool.

But once again, part of the problem was how much the land would have cost for Centerville to purchase.

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