Monthly Archives: April 2016

Understanding Private Eminent Domain

download (40)The contribution of private businesses to the community

In 2006, the Oakland Tribune reported that Burlingame’s auto row “provides 50 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue every year.”

In 2013, the Orange County Register reported: “More than a fourth of San Juan Capistrano’s sales-tax revenue came from local car dealerships in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended June 30… ” *

So when a dealership needed an abutting vacant lot to expand, was the city wrong in taking the lot and selling it to the private dealership?

The money to buy the property came from the dealership. The adjoining lot had been vacant for years and its taking enabled the city to increase its tax revenue without taxing its citizens and thereby offer more services to its citizens for free.

One could say, “Well, that was a vacant piece of property and not some grandma’s home.” But that is begging the question.

That employs the same logic as the old story about the guy offering the girl $1,000 to go to bed with him and her accepting, only to have the guy then say “Would you go to bed with me for $10?” and her responding “What do you think I am?”

What she is had been established with her acceptance of the $1,000 offer. After that, they were just dickering price.

If your answer to the taking above was “Yes,” then the philosophy of taking of private property for private business is O.K. The philosophy cannot be O.K. in the case of the vacant lot, but not O.K. in the case of the grandmother’s house.

The distinction lies in the application of the law, not in the law itself.

The Law

The landmark eminent domain case was Kelo v. New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) 268 Conn. 1, 843 A. 2d 500. wherein the court held, in an 8-3 decision, that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment. In its ruling, the court noted, in part:

“The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including-but by no means limited to-new jobs and increased tax revenue. As with other exercises in urban planning and development,12 the City is endeavoring to coordinate a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational uses of land, with the hope that they will form a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

As mentioned above, the Supreme Court vote in Kelo was 8 to 3. Could any reasonable person really believe that the justices are bad people because of their positions?

Can the power of private eminent domain be abused?

Sure it can.

But is the answer to “abolish the law” or to “abolish the abusers?”

When Congress thought President Nixon violated the constitution, it did not move to abolish the constitution, instead it moved to remove the president.

Purpose of this Article

The purpose of this article is not to advocate that private takings are good or bad, or to write a legal treatise on the subject.

The purpose is to demonstrate that reasonable people can have different opinions and their choices are not always between “good” and “evil.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the renowned Supreme Court justice, had a standing bet with lawyers that no one could give him a law wherein he could not, in turn, provide an example of where that law, if applied, would have a bad result.

Holmes lived to be 93 and no one ever won that bet. With every law proposed to him, Holmes provided an example whereby application of the law would result in an injustice.

Summation

In summation, the question ought not to be whether the person or entity seeking enforcement of private eminent domain is good or evil.

The questions ought to be: (1) whether or not the taking serves the greater good; and (2) are the people answering the question unbiased and reasonable people?

In a December 7, 2009 “California Eminent Domain Law” Blog, A.J. Hazarabedian took the view that: “Taking property by eminent domain to benefit an auto dealership might create jobs and increase local tax revenues, but is one of those uses of eminent domain which should be examined carefully.

Is this truly a taking for public use, or is the City instead using eminent domain for private benefit and to benefit its own coffers? Eminent domain for the elimination of true blight may well be appropriate as a public use; eminent domain for the sole purposes of benefiting a private auto dealer and increasing local tax revenues is questionable.”

=======

*Note: The sales tax base with respect to car dealers, does not always have the same result in every state.

In places like Texas and Missouri, car dealerships do not pay sales tax to the cities where they are located, but rather where the buyer lives. In those cities, other business provide the brunt of the taxes.

In 2006, Thomas J. Erman, SIOR, Vice President, NAI DESCO reported, in AreaDevelopment.com: “A developer wants to build a 476,000-square-foot retail center that is estimated to produce $170 million in sales per year within the first five years. The project would require a car dealer to relocate from that site.”

John Pico, a retired attorney, is the managing partner of Advising Automobile Dealers LLC and Pico Publishing Company. He has served as a Court Appointed: “Consultant to Debtor” in bankruptcy cases; “Mediator” in automotive disputes; “Arbitrator / Appraiser” in partnership disputes; “Consultant to Receiver” in a check-kiting case; “Superior Court Mediator” in dealership / lender litigation

He has been recognized as an expert in both State and Federal Courts.

He has consulted on upside-down positions of over $50 Million, out of trust position of over $4 Million and bank overdrafts of $30 Million. Since 1972, Mr. Pico has completed over 1,000 automobile dealership transactions, including buy-sells, valuations, litigation, Chapter XI bankruptcies, and business plans for open points.

Top 5 Facts About Commercial Contractors

download (45)Keeping pace with the globalization and modernization, the demand of commercial contractors is increasing day by day. A vast of majority of people are highly interested in hiring commercial contractors for the successful implementation of their projects. They want to get it done under the supervision of expert and experienced commercial contractors to give their constructions more strength and power to combat against various weather attacks like storm, rain, snowfall, hailstorm, and earthquake. The tendency of getting general contractors is increasing gradually. Under their supervision, you are sure to get the most modern construction that can stand you out from the crowd. They can create a different identity for you by providing you with cutting-edge solutions at the most competitive prices.

There are five important facts to explain well why people look for commercial contractors:

Sound Domain Knowledge

Their involvement in every construction-related matter has helped them acquire sound knowledge to make a project highly successful. They have a very good analytical power to analyze all necessary things and guide you righteously.

Very Good Management Skill

They gain a very good management skill in the course of time. It develops within them automatically with their active involvement, participation and execution of various commercial projects. Therefore, they become highly skilled in strategic planning. They can calculate your project cost perfectly and give you some basic guidelines and suggestions for making your project successful. They prepare a layout of the project with every necessary activity required at its various stages like planning, organizing, staffing, leading, controlling and executing.

Highly Skilled and Experienced in This Domain

As they are doing the same job and performing same activities repetitively for their various clients over the years, commercial contractors become highly skilled and experienced in this domain. Consequently, it becomes their area of specialization. This is why it is quite natural that the best decisions will come from them. This is one of the important reasons for motivating people to hire reputable commercial contractors.

Strong League with Realtors, Vendors and Suppliers

A long dealing with realtors, vendors and suppliers for meeting their clients’ need helps commercial contractors make a very good rapport with them. This helps any particular client receive some added benefits. The client can get a deduction by using the references of his commercial contractor.

 

One of the Vibrant Commercial Hubs in Singapore

download (41)Paya Lebar Central has been emerging as one of the vibrant commercial hubs in Singapore. The land bank offers more than 12 ha of land for commercial and residential property development. Both national and international property investors can come to invest here.

The Paya Lebar sub regional centre has been has been set to make a major commercial centre in Singapore. The planning authority has a mindset to create commercial clusters outside the city centre.

It has two adjacent parcels separated by Geylang Canal and Sims Avenue. As the information has come till date, Australian developer Lend Lease will take nearly 30 per cent of the total land. The rest part will be owned by its investment partner Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

This bustling commercial hub will welcome many new investors to open their offices, hotels and other commercial centres. It is expected that the land will welcome a new hive of commercial activities with many new shopping malls, retail outlets, residential complexes, and attractive public spaces for happy leisure spending. This vibrant commercial hub has been developed outside the city centre as an important part of URA’s decentralisation strategy that focuses on modernization and urbanization. Side by side, an endeavour has been made to bring businesses and jobs very close to homes.

The land is perfect to become an exemplary commercial hub for its location, communication and perfect natural setting.

It is just a 10-minute-away by car from the Central Business District. It is well-connected by major roads and important expressways. Important expressways like the PIE and the ECP have made the land easily accessible from the different parts and points of Singapore city. Besides, roads like Paya Lebar Road, Sims Ave, and Changi Road have made the communication process convenient. Accessibility and convenience will be enhanced in future by creating more avenues and lanes.

The Geylang River flowing through this land will play an important role in enhancing the beauty of this commercial hub. There is a future planning of making this river more attractive with new public spaces and green lands. It is expected that with the completion of the Marina Barrage, the capacity of controlling the water levels will be increased.

The place surely has a bright future for more development. If you have decided for any property investment, this is the right time to do. Don’t let this opportunity slip from your hand. You are sure to receive a very good return on your investment.

The Intricacies of Scaffolding – Here’s the Lowdown

download (43)Scaffolding is one of the most significant domains for the construction and real estate industry in general. Any construction that has to be done, needs proper work before the activities can start. There are ways in which this can be achieved, and scaffolding is the most prominent of components for the same. Whether you are an individual or represent a construction firm, there are a few factors that have to be noted down and a decision on the scaffolds should be taken only after weighing all the conditions. Just for a heads-up, here you will be acquainted with a few of the most telling features of a scaffold. Have a look and approach your own initiative with a pruning eye afterwards.

The Platform is a Significant Component

For the safety of the scaffolds, the most important aspect is the platform. The plane on which the scaffold has to be erected, needs to be stable and firm. If it is a soil platform, the experts need to make sure first and foremost, that it is reliable enough to not subside when holding up the weight. In a way, the platform is as important for the scaffolding structure as is the foundation for a building. As they say, the first steps should be taken extremely carefully.

The Ladders and the Guard Rails

Another important aspect that has to be taken into account, is the construction of the guard rails and ladders. These are relevant for worker safety and hence need to be considered before work is initiated. The guard rails have to be of appropriate measurement, while the ladders have to be inspected for perfect fitting. The height of the guard rails of the scaffolds, for example, need to be around 45 inches in height. Whereas, the ladder for scaffold towers needs to take care of the fact that the gap from the top most point of the scaffold tower is around 10 inches and not considerably more than that.

Once these things are factored in, the next thing you need to make sure of, is the strength of the scaffolding structure. This brings us to the next point.

Aluminium Scaffolds – Used in the Most Reliable Scaffolding Techniques

For ensuring that a scaffolding construction is robust enough to support the weight of the workers that will work on it, different materials can be opted for. We all know about the robustness of Aluminium, and it is for this reason that Aluminium scaffolds are fast becoming popular these days. The aluminium scaffolds can withstand weights which might be impossible for other types of materials to sustain.

The above concludes a brief explanation of a few of the details whose prevalence should be prioritised. A little research before any constructional endeavour helps in the long run for a hiccup-free functioning till the completion of the project.