San Bernardino County Rejects Eminent Domain Proposal

San Bernardino County Rejects Eminent Domain Proposal

01/28/2013 BY: ESTHER CHO

After much debate and consideration, an idea that had been brewing in San Bernardino County to address negative equity through the use of eminent domain was rejected Thursday by the Joint Powers Authority (JPA).

The proposed use of eminent domain was first pitched to the county by Mortgage Resolution Partners and involved seizing mortgages from underwater borrowers at fair market value. The mortgages would then be refinanced with new terms reflecting the property’s current value. San Bernardino County and two of its cities, Ontario and Fontana, formed a JPA last year to consider the proposal.

According to a release from San Bernardino County, the board decided against proposals that would consider the use of eminent domain, with board Chairman Greg Devereaux pointing out that many experts have warned of the impact eminent domain could have on the already weak local housing market.

“It’s wrong to impose that risk on the community without support from the community, and that level of support has not materialized,” said Devereaux. “We don’t want to do more harm than good in what we choose to do.”

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