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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remember New Brighton's Risky Land Development Schemes

Don't forget recent history. The city of New Brighton made a deal with a land developer to take private property on their behalf. This deal obligated the city to take the land desired by the developer from its private property owners.

It was a nice deal for the developer for they were spared the trouble of purchasing the property directly from the owner. It also prevented owners who were willing to sell from negotiating their own price – which is why the developers ran to city hall. With eminent domain, the city council was able to get the land for a bargain price.

But there's more. The city, not the developer, was to pay for the land they took with tax-payer dollars. The developer was to then buy the land from the city. But, earlier this month the developer backed out of the deal leaving the city stuck with all this land.

Keep in mind that taking this land was justified by the higher tax revenues that could be generated from redevelopment. It's all about collecting more taxes. If your property can be converted to a multi-dwelling development, then it's fair game for the city to take.

But with the developer backing out, the city is now stuck with land that is NOT generating ANY tax revenue. Residents will be required to make up the shortfall through higher property taxes. In short, city hall gambled with private property using tax-payer dollars and lost.

Among those who supported this gamble were Steve Larson and Kim Moore-Sykes. Both are on the ballot, Larson for mayor, Moore-Sykes for city council. Don't give them another chance to gamble away your property and your tax dollars on risky land development schemes.

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Blogger Force50 said...

Let's not forget Mayor Steve Larson's intensive lobbying, first against eminent domain reform in the first place ... then switching to getting exceptions to the reform law so he could continue to plunder.

Without gambling with his own money, he was determined to redevelop the NW Quadrant AT ANY COST to the taxpayer no matter who got hurt as long as it was not him. Now the worse possible scenario has developed for the taxpayer ans he is still calling it a "success."

10/31/2007 2:16 PM  
Blogger Daria said...

More on Mayor Larson's lobbying efforts alluded to by Force50:

From a League of Minnesota Cities publication arguing against the enacting of eminent domain reforms by the state:

“There are certain components of quality of life that all of us consider essential to our health and vitality as communities and as a state,” said Mayor Steve Larson of New Brighton, a member of the League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors. “Sometimes these goals—jobs, affordable housing, senior housing, environmental cleanup and protection, strong neighborhoods—cannot be fully realized without the use of eminent domain.”

In other words, "Thou shalt not steal...unless you have a good reason to"...and government bureaucrats are the sole arbiters of what constitutes a good reason.

- D

10/31/2007 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mayor & has to take responsibility for understating the risks of the NWQ as well as providing very limited visibility. The Mayor continues to view the NWQ debacle through rose-colored glasses and best-case scenarios. The City of New Brighton website states:

'The NWQ should have 'no' effect on property taxes for New Brighton residents.'

This statement seems utterly inconsistent with reality - the NWQ price tag is approaching $85 million - clearly there is a high probability that there will not be adequate revenue to provide debt service on the general obligation bonds. The bonds combined with TIF make the NWQ an even worse nightmare. In addition, inexplicably a contingency plan has not been developed as has long been mentioned on this blog.

Many editorials argue that we're Monday morning quarterbacks questioning the NWQ now. The eminent domain issue is over and it's time to deal with the immediate problems such as servicing the debt the next several years. There needs to be some accountability and we cleary do not want or trust the same gang that created this mess to clean it up. It's time for the old guard of Larson, Moore-Sykes & Berg to move aside and elect a competent team with a fresh set of eyes to move New Brighton forward. Dahms, Post & Phillips would be a dramatic upgrade in real-world experience, fiscal responsibilty, and openness.

11/01/2007 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The eminent domain issue may be over when it comes to the NWQ but it is far from over when it comes to other properties in the city. What supporters of Larson and his pals call 'experience' is what I call a 'track record' and that record is not good.

People that own businesses that some council people could declare as 'ugly' are caught between a rock and a hard place. Remember that the city owns properties such as the Harry's Bar land that they are doing nothing with so it can someday be declared 'blighted'. As seen in the NWQ all it takes is one blighted property to justify condemning a whole area. And if us business owners do spiff up our property and the city ends up EDing us with the 'blighted area' excuse they have a track record of not considering recent improvements in the offering price. Former mayor Benke said in a letter to the Bulletin this week that the future use of ED is not planned. He can be trusted as far as I can throw the NWQ. Plus he is not accountable to voters any longer hiding inside the development comission.

Making a living off of my business is already tough enough without having to pay some slimey lawyer to fight the city who is using my tax dollars to pay other slimey lawyers to help them take my property. And in the end I will end up losing my property. The only question is how much I have to pay to fight it and how much I end up getting. My good will, customer loyalty and sense of community will all go down the drain.

Anyone who would trust the current mayor, council, and the lifers on the development comission to clean up their mess is a fool. I sure hope the voters clean house next week and I intend to do my part.

11/01/2007 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only wish I had the chance to vote in your city elections. Unfortunately, I have the wrong address, but


Good luck wiping out the empire.

11/02/2007 9:24 AM  

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