Thursday, June 14, 2007

Redevelopment Commission's Argument Doesn't Square with State Law

Previously, I wrote about members of the city council bringing up the idea that the redevelopment commission might have violated state law in the way they acquired Harrison Square property. Well it looks like Councilmen Schmidt, Smith and Shoaff are still questioning the purchases. One recent quote from the redevelopment commission's attorney is quite disturbing:
Wernet argued that the commission wasn’t even required to get appraisals for the land because it didn’t use eminent domain. He said appraisals were done after the fact to gauge the value, and those appraisals should be completed by Monday’s commission meeting.

Greg Leatherman, deputy director of development, has repeated this claim and frankly it's just not supported by anything in state law. My previous post covered this and listed the statute -IC 36-7-14-19 - Acquisition of real property; procedure:
The redevelopment commission shall first approve and adopt a list of the real property and interests in real property to be acquired and the price to be offered to the owner of each parcel of interest. The prices to be offered may not exceed the average of two (2) independent appraisals of fair market value procured by the commission except that appraisals are not required in transactions with other governmental agencies. The prices indicated on the list may not be exceeded unless specifically authorized by the commission or ordered by a court in condemnation proceedings.

There is absolutely nothing in that part of the code that deals with eminent domain. In fact just look at the title - "Acquisition of Real Property; procedure". This statute deals with ALL Real Estate Acquisition. Compare that with the title of the next section of the code (36-7-14-20) "Eminent Domain; procedure". This covers eminent domain but it is completely independent from the statute I've listed above. To argue that 36-7-14-19 somehow only deals with eminent domain when it doesn't even use those words AND there is another statute specifically entitled "eminent domain" just seems outrageous.

They should not be allowed to get away with this argument without vigorous debate. Namely, they should cite the exact statute they are referring to when they make statements like those above. I think it's clear that the Redevelopment Commission violated state law...

1 comment:

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