Mini-Documentary on Redevelopment in California

California Redevelopment Agencies Abused Their Powers & Should Never Return



The California legislature recently dissolved the state’s redevelopment agencies, notoriously the nation’s worst abusers of eminent domain—when the government condemns perfectly fine properties not for public use, but for private development. California should stand firm in its decision to eliminate these rogue agencies, which have siphoned billions in taxpayer dollars away from schools and local infrastructure, and destroyed lives for ill-conceived projects, that often never meet expectations or even come to fruition. Watch this video to learn more about redevelopment in the Golden State.

Join the Castle Coalition to help make sure eminent domain abuse is never resurrected in California!

Eminent Domain On Hold in Willets Point

For the past several years, Mayor Bloomberg has targeted businesses he doesn’t like in the Willet’s Point area of Queens for demolition.  Although he prioritized transferring these businesses to a private developer for the purpose of “redevelopment,” the mayor is still having trouble finding a developer willing to take on his grandiose vision.

Related Cos., the most recent mega-developer to commit to replacing the auto-repair businesses in Willet’s Point with swankier development, has now rejected the mayor’s $3 billion plan to build 5,000 apartments and 680,000 square feet of retail and hotel space, calling it financially impractical.

Business owners in Willet’s Point were told on May 2 that the city has dropped its plans to seize the properties using eminent domain.  The City Council will now need to go through the lengthy process of reviewing and approving new plans—a process that could take years.  Unfortunately for business owners, those years will continue to be fraught with threats of eminent domain, since the city refuses to take this abusive power off the table.  But for the time being, these business owners have a break.

Bittersweet Victory for Mount Holly Homeowners

By Caralynn Reddig

Homeowners that remain in the Gardens neighborhood of Mount Holly, N.J., were given a bittersweet victory on April 9, 2012. For almost a decade, politicians have been bulldozing rowhomes in the Gardens, systematically destroying a community of minority and elderly folks. The township had been planning to then give the properties to Keating, a developer that promised to build luxury apartments and townhomes much too expensive for the evicted Gardens residents. Watch our video, Scorched Earth: Eminent Domain Abuse in the Gardens of Mount Holly.

Leona Wright, Nancy Lopez, Santos Cruz, and other property owners had filed a lawsuit to keep the homes they rightfully own. But now, the township has stated they have run out of money. They have incurred “$18 million in debt for a project yet to be built.” Township Manager Kathleen Hoffman said she would no longer authorize litigation and sent a “cease and desist” order to everyone involved with the project.

Leona, who moved into her rowhome when her son was in 3rd grade, about 36 years ago, has fond memories of the Gardens community as it once was. So does Nancy Lopez, who also raised her children in the Gardens. Moving to New Jersey from New York, she has spent the past 24 years there. Santos Cruz has owned his home for 19 years, and enjoyed being part of a safe community that he believed to be perfect for raising his children.

Over the years, the township seized the homes of residents who had no interested in selling and bulldozed the neighborhood piece-by-piece, often disregarding damage they caused to homes still occupied by residents. Just three days before Christmas that same year, homeowners like Leona received a letter declaring they would have until January 15 to accept the township’s purchase offer or their homes would be seized using eminent domain.

Olga Pomar, who represented these homeowners in their lawsuit, lamented that her clients “have been living under the fear that their home is going to be taken from them since 2003.” With the end of litigation, the remaining Mount Holly residents can rest much easier now that their homes have been taken off the chopping block—yet the township has made the Gardens nearly uninhabitable. Residents must now deal with the loss of the community they once had and loved. Less than 70 of the 330 homes remain occupied.

Rumblings of Eminent Domain Abuse in Massachusetts

Rumblings of eminent domain abuse are coming from Weymouth, Massachusetts.  Property owner Nick Delegas is in danger of having his property seized by local politicians bent on implementing their own vision of the neighborhood, specifically “beautification and traffic improvements”.

Unhappy with Nick’s decision to wait to renovate his storefronts, Weymouth bureaucrats have recently advised the Mayor to look into taking Nick’s private property through eminent domain.  But Nick was waiting for new tenants before he started overhauling the property, and he had been negotiating with Walgreens to open a store in the property.  He stated, “We’re not going to leave it that way.  Is it going to look that way six months from now?  No.”

Unfortunately for Nick, Massachusetts is one of only six states that have yet to reform their laws since the infamous Kelo decision.  The state legislature has delayed efforts to curb eminent domain abuse and refused to pass reforms that would protect property owners like Nick.

Unless legislators act soon, the fate of Nick Delegas’ property is in the hands of the town’s bureaucrats.

Wondering what happened to CA redevelopment?

Wondering what happened to California’s hundreds of redevelopment agencies?  The San Diego Reader explains in detail the history of redevelopment and tax-increment financing in California, what happened this past legislative session, and the fight to revive these abusive agencies once more.  Read the story here.

Castle Coalition celebrates its 10th anniversary

The Castle Coalition celebrates its 10th anniversary this year!  Together we have worked with you to save over 16,000 properties, and successfully spearheaded efforts in 44 states to reform laws to better protect private property owners. We have even had the privilege of visiting over a hundred of your communities!

This week we also celebrate the end of redevelopment in California, and pledge to fend off efforts to revive these abusive agencies. Watch a mini-documentary on redevelopment in California here.

The Castle Coalition will continue to push other states to reform their laws, and continue to fight off greedy bureaucrats and their bulldozers.

Help the Castle Coalition continue to grow!  Recruit your friends and family.  They can become activists here.

Thank you for standing on the frontlines with us.

New Video on Redevelopment in California

Join the Castle Coalition to help make sure eminent domain abuse is never resurrected in California!


Contact your legislators and tell them you support the elimination of redevelopment. Click here to find out who represents you in Sacramento.


Resources on redevelopment in California:

California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos:  Fiscal Meltdown Leads to Victory for Property Owners, School Districts, and Taxpayers,” Orange County Lawyer

IJ RELEASE:  “California’s Redevelopment Nightmare Coming To An End:  California Supreme Court Upholds Law Abolishing Redevelopment Agencies.”

“Should California End Redevelopment Agencies?” California Legislative Analyst’s Office

Victimizing the Vulnerable: Eminent Domain Abuse in National City, Calif.

California Scheming:  What Every Californian Should Know About Eminent Domain Abuse

Simplify, Don’t Subsidize:  The Right Way to Support Private Development

Development Without Eminent Domain: Foundation of Freedom Inspires Urban Growth

California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights


“Cities often give short shrift to affordable housing,” LA Times report exposes 120 failed redevelopment projects


IJ RELEASE: IJ Calls on California GOP to Eliminate Abusive Redevelopment Agencies


“California’s Secret Government: Redevelopment Agencies Blight the Golden State,” City Journal