Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
Created: 11/29/2009 11:42:16 PM PST

CLAREMONT – The City Council has approved an extension of its eminent domain powers on nonresidential property.

The city’s Redevelopment Agency in November 1997 amended its redevelopment plan to reinstate eminent domain authority on nonresidential property.

The authority was set to expire in December.

In order to extend the authority for an additional 12 years, the agency had to amend its redevelopment plan.

“This isn’t extending (the ordinance) into any new areas, it’s only extending the time,” Councilman Sam Pedroza said. “And one question keeps coming up … but there are no residential units that are within our eminent domain powers.”

Eminent domain is government’s ability to take property without the owner’s consent, but with monetary compensation and usually for public utilities or another civic purpose.

City resident C. Robert Ferguson opposed the action by the council and said it “does not have the power and jurisdiction to adopt the ordinance.”

Ferguson said proper procedure for the ordinance was not followed.

He detailed how an amendment for the ordinance was not available in the packet given to the public at a recent meeting.

Deputy City Attorney Sarah Kleinberg assured the council that the ordinance proceedings were legal.

Councilwoman Linda Elderkin said she felt eminent domain was an important tool to have for redevelopment and economic development in Claremont.

The council approved the action on Tuesday by a 4-1 vote.