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Saturday, August 26, 2006


Edemocracy "St. Paul Issues and forums" thread>

Posted 25 Aug 2006 13:08 by Michael Fraase

On a tangential note, last fall Councilmember Benanav convened a
neighborhood meeting about "problem" properties in the neighborhoods around
Saint Thomas. One of the projects currently underway is that the city is in
the process of buying some number of these properties in order to remove
them from the rental market, and in doing so keeping the neighborhoods
stable for homeowners and non-transient renters.

I support the program.

I live on the edge of the Saint Thomas campus, and the difference between
the Saint Thomas and Macalester students is palpable, probably because
Macalester has a much more aggressive policy with regard to student behavior
in the community.

I'm wondering:

1) How this program managed to get around the taking issues in the law;
perhaps the city is paying market value, but if it's mandatory (I don't know
that it is) isn't that still a taking?

2) Can this program be extended to problem properties throughout the city?
Seems like a better alternative than demolition.

Acknowledging that I know little about these issues and the underlying law
governing them, I'm just wondering is all....

Michael Fraase

> -----Original Message-----
> From: chuckrepke
> Sent: Friday, August 25, 2006 12:29 PM
> To: mcswope
> stpaul-issues
> Subject: Re: [SPIF] Feronia Avenue Building
> Here's the deal, the City does not have the power to "take"
> people's property without having a "public use" for it or
> without paying just compensation. The fifth amendment of the
> constitution makes it so. When the City demo's a blighted
> building it isn't "taking" anything. It is abating the
> property. It is removing blight. In effect it is removing a
> pile of rubbish and leaving the property in better condition
> than it was previously and it bills the land owner for
> providing the service. The land owner still owns his land
> and now it has been cleaned up for him.
> Though it might sound like a nice idea for the City to do
> "something" other than demo, it doesn't have that option. If
> the City were to "take" the property, improve it and sell it,
> they would be violating the constitution. The City has to
> have a public purpose, declare what that is and allow the
> owner the opportunity to go to court to determine "just
> compensation" prior to any of that occurring.
> With the new restrictions on eminent domain that the state
> just passed, the City may not be able to "take" any property
> for targeted redevelopment. So, in your scenario the Court
> might determine that there isn't a public purpose to the
> taking and allow the building to sit as is. The other end of
> that of course is that the courts have normally been very
> liberal on what a "just compensation" is. My guess is that
> the property on Feronia would get more money in court than it
> would on the private market by a considerable amount.
> Chuck Repke
> Ward 2
> -----Original Message-----
> From: mcswope
> To: efq
> Sent: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 11:50 AM
> Subject: Re: [SPIF] Feronia Avenue Building
> Tom Goldstein/Elysian Fields Quarterly
> In other words, perhaps the city needs to see if there are
> legal ways to expand it's enforcement options"
> I think Tom is onto something here. If your lawn is unmowed,
> the city has the authority to mow it for you and bill you for
> it. The case odf a building like the Feronia Ave. building is
> obviously more complicated than mowing a lawn but perhaps
> some procedure short of demolition could be added to the
> city's arsenal.
> I'd suggest looking at some kind of rceivership procedure.
> When a property is obviously not being taken care of but can
> be salvaged, perhaps there could be a proceeding whereby a
> receiver is appointed with power to authorize needed repairs
> or sell the building to someone who will do the necessary
> work. The owner would then be given back the building or the
> sales proceeds. The costs would be assessed against the
> property as a special assessment. Is this a drastic remedy.
> Sure it is and should be used only in exceptional
> circumstances and with accountability, perhaps judicial
> review. But it seems better than tearing down a valuble
> building because of an incapable or obstinate owner.
> There was a second meeting last week to discuss the Feronia
> Ave,. building. I wasn't able to get to that meeting. Does
> anyone know what happened?
> Charlie Swope
> Ramsey Hill, Ward 2, St. Paul


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My advice to these guys is educate yourself and read the information Bob posted under a number of topics here.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city of St.Paul is chasing people out at a high speed, this includes small businesses. St.Paul is all about one thing, major companies, TIF programs for the greedy, not about the citizens unless your in the upper class bracket, the only help the people that really need help is getting is a shove out of the city. But I got news for you, there are alot of others leaving St.Paul. People work all their life to pay for their home, then they retire, now the city has other plans for them, to take their home if they are unable to keep up with the trends. What right does any inspector have in their home telling them how to take care of their private home? If the grass needs to be mowed or sidewalks shoveled, community service could help the elderly out, their is help and funding for every foreigner that the government brings into OUR country, what about the American citizen? Are we forgotten about, all the americans that are homeless, don't they count, shouldn't our people come first?

9:32 AM  

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