The Community Redevelopment Act of 1969, provides that “[c]ounties and municipalities may not exercise the power of eminent domain for the purpose of preventing or eliminating a slum area or blighted area as defined... ” (Section 163. 370(1)) The only exception to this is found further in the sentence, thus, “counties and municipalities may acquire property by eminent domain within a community redevelopment area. ” (Section 163. 370(1)) To further understand the core provision of the law, as abovementioned, the definitions under the law must be studied carefully.
On the one hand, a slum area is “an area having physical or economic conditions conducive to disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency, poverty, or crime because there is a predominance of buildings or improvements, whether residential or nonresidential, which are impaired by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, age, or obsolescence. ” (Section 163. 340(7)) This definition must be coupled with at least one of the following factors: “(a) Inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation, or open spaces;
(b) High density of population…and overcrowding; (c) The existence of conditions that endanger life or property by fire or other causes. ” (Sections 163. 340(7)(a)-(c)) The exception to the two-factor criteria for a blighted area is when “at least one of the factors identified in paragraphs (a) through (n) are present and all taxing authorities subject to Section 163. 387(2)(a) agree, either by interlocal agreement or agreements with the agency or by resolution, that the area is blighted. Such agreement or resolution shall only determine that the area is blighted.
” (Section 163. 340(8), ¶2) With the definitions abovementioned, the counties and municipalities have specific powers as provided for in the statute. The most important is that the counties and municipalities cannot exercise the power of eminent domain “for the purpose of preventing or eliminating a slum area or blighted area. ” (Section 163. 370(1)) They may, however, exercise the power of eminent domain when the slum area or blighted area is already within a community redevelopment area. (Section 163. 370(1))