Thursday, June 23, 2005

Recreational Takings

Well, I guess there no better "public use" than an RV dealership:

When Cathedral City City Council voted in March to exercise eminent domain over one of the largest undeveloped pieces of property left in the city, it was seeking to put about 60 acres of land together for possible development.

The 12 small business owners in the area - ranging from the Villa Bakery to Jaguars Only - and the landowners of the area near Sarah Street and Ramon Road were told the city did not have a development plan on the table.

But with the approval on Wednesday of a possible 40-acre RV dealership north of Ramon Road. that has changed - and some of the landowners say they have been taken by surprise.

The City Council approved this week a memorandum of understanding with Merritt RV to negotiate the possibility of building an RV sales and service station on 40 of 63 vacant acres north of Ramon Road.

The business fits part of the profile that city planners had mentioned in calling for the power of eminent domain: A big business that will generate much-needed sales tax for the cash-strapped city's general fund.

The plan is moving fast and some of the landowners are stunned.

A portion of the 40 acres is owned by Dr. Kurt Bochner of Palm Springs and his son Clifford Bochner of Murrieta. The elder Bochner did not return calls for comment, Friday, but said at the council meeting Wednesday that he had planned to develop the land and leave it to his kin as his legacy.
"I'm kind of emotionally shook," Bochner told the City Council before it voted to approve the memorandum of understanding.. "(The city had) assured us that there weren't any (other bidders for the land)."

But as Bochner realized, he doesn't have the final say over what happens to his legacy.

Here's a Google view of the property.