Hat tip to vigi about this one, back to the saga of Neptune Point aka Crab Cove aka the land that EBRPD wants. Last year-ish the Feds filed a claim with the US District Court to condemn McKay Avenue which, ostensibly was under the control of the EBRPD, and so was holding up any sale of the Neptune Pointe land.
Well the decision is in from the US District Court and it is not good news for EBRPD. Of course all lower court decisions can be appealed, so it’s not clear if this is a legal battle that EBRPD and the State of California want to fight with the considerably deeper pockets of the Federal Government, but, stranger things have happened. The file is attached here and I have excerpted portions below:
The judge meticulously breaks down the EBRPD/State of CA arguments to support his judgement for the Feds.
Nevertheless, the Court remains of the view that the government is entitled to clear up this thicket of problems one at a time and, right now, it is trying to clear up the problem of access to the parcel via McKay Avenue. It does not have to clear up the problems in the order desired by the opposition, namely it does not have to first solve the problem of finding a buyer.
The fact that GSA has not yet designated Neptune Pointe “surplus” within the meaning of its disposal authority is also of no moment. Defendants point to no authority requiring that such a designation must precede actions taken in preparation for a disposal.
Essentially the argument from the Feds (and which the judge agrees) getting the most money for a piece of land owned by the Federal government that they want to get rid of is in the public interest. And there is precedence and statutory regulations that support that contention:
This order finds that the condemnation of McKay Avenue is rationally related to the conceivable public purpose of the advantageous liquidation of Neptune Pointe.
GSA’s authority to dispose of surplus property includes the condemnation of property necessary or proper to secure marketable title in the property to be disposed. United States v. 1.33 Acres, Situated in County of San Luis Obispo, 9 F.3d 70, 73 (9th Cir. 1993). In United States v. 1.33 Acres, GSA relied on its disposal authority in 40 U.S.C. 484(c) (1988). That provision was re-codified as Section 543 in 2002, and contained nearly identical “necessary or proper” language. Defendants offer no meaningful distinctions between the sources of authority considered in that decision and those cited by the United States in its amended declaration of taking. Accordingly, GSA has the statutory authority necessary to condemn McKay Avenue.
What does this mean for the GSA? Well now, they can try selling the land again but of course whoever purchases it will need to defeat the whole “open space” zoning with a ballot measure of their own. Or the federal government could choose to develop it, I wonder if there are any cases of the federal government doing that and then selling the units on their own.