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New RDA area would not have eminent domain authority
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Eminent domain - the taking of private property by condemnation for private or a second-party private use - will not be allowed in the proposed new project area of the Manteca Redevelopment Agency.

City leaders will consider adopting the policy that would be part of the basic rules governing the project area if it is formed when the City Council sitting as the RDA commission meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Municipal leaders are considering 11 distinctive areas for inclusion in Manteca RDA Project No. 3 as a result of the foreclosure crisis that devalued property and brought blight to neighborhoods in the form of housing blight.

Such a policy would bar the Manteca RDA from using eminent domain in the 11 neighborhoods. However, the city itself would still have that power but it couldn’t be used in connection with a RDA project. Typically cities in California have eminent domain authority for streets, water and sewer lines and such. RDAs have much broader power including ability to force the sale of private property when a second private party wants it and the owner doesn’t want to sell. The policy - if adopted - and is in place if and when Project No. 3 is formed eminent domain would never be a tool accessible to the RDA in those areas.

The 11 areas being considered for inclusion in RDA Project Area No. 3 are:

• a phase of Del Webb Woodbridge that just broke ground along Lathrop Road west of Union Road.

• the McNary Circle neighborhood east and southeast of Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

• El Rancho Mobile Home Park and the almond orchards where the proposed 217-acre Yosemite Square Business Park project that includes 314,000 square feet of office space, 414 condos, 335 homes, and 312 apartment units is being proposed on the northeast corner of the Highway 99 and 120 Bypass interchange.

• a strip along Atherton Drive east of Van Ryn Road where 300 apartments have been approved.

• Manteca High - including pocket neighborhoods flanking the main campus - as well as Lincoln Park and Lincoln School.

• the Cherry Lane condos, Merrill Gardens, and neighboring apartment, and patio homes north of the Civic Center.

Roughly 11 percent of Manteca’s 23,000 housing units have fallen into foreclosure over the past four years with many of them in the proposed RDA project area.

The money that RDA retains will provide assistance to qualifying homeowners, increased economic development activities, improved infrastructure, and public facilities upgrades.

A similar RDA program in Stockton is responsible for rehabilitation of parks, building community centers in neighborhoods, repair streets, and installing new street lighting as well as helping address affordable housing needs.

Manteca typically gets only 10 cents of every dollar in property tax collected on property not included in an RDA project and 80 cents on the dollar from those that are within the boundaries of an RDA area. The 80 cents includes both RDA tax increment and general fund revenue.

Manteca, depending upon when various homes and other improvements were built, only gets between 6 and 11 percent of every property tax area collected in a non-RDA area.

Based on preliminary projections made in January on a larger project area, if all 11 neighborhoods are shifted to an RDA area the general fund will be shorted $50,000 by the fifth year and $100,000 annually by the 10th year.

By comparison the RDA after five years would capture $500,000 annually in property taxes from the 11 areas. By the 10th year ethanol flow into RDA coffers would reach $1 million.

Manteca would end up keeping $900,000 more tax dollars annually instead of it all going to Sacramento.