Never in the history of Santa Clara has our City used “eminent domain” to acquire property.
That is until now.
The Council wants the property where David’s banquet facility is located, in order to fulfill their promise to the Related Companies to begin their multi-billion-dollar project on our golf course.
David’s is located across the street from Levi’s Stadium.
He has been there more than 20 years. He also has more than a decade left on his lease.
When David moved out to this location to serve our municipal golf course with his restaurant, he also leased the City owned building which provides banquet facilities.
When his lease expired at the Golf Course restaurant, the City did not renew his lease and asked him to leave. So, he did.
Now they want him to leave his banquet facility which has another sixteen years to run.
You might think the City would just buy out his lease.
Well, not this Council.
They sent him a letter telling him to forget about his lease, leave his facility and the City would pay him $5,000.
That idea had little appeal to him after 20 years of investment and years left on his lease. So, he has continued to operate his banquet facility, thinking the City would come to their senses and negotiate a legitimate offer.
Instead of negotiating, this Council is playing the trump card of eminent domain. This will allow the City to confiscate the property.
This issue will wind up in court and taxpayers will be forced by the judge to pay again. There are many cases of cities that have enforced this law. However, the courts have become more sympathetic to lease and land holders in recent years.
Most likely David will be required to leave, and the City will be forced to pay David an appropriate amount as deemed by the courts. However, in addition, the City (that’s us) will not only pay David but, court and legal fees.
You may remember that 20 years ago there was nothing around the golf course except Great America and a few tech companies. There was several dirt lots surrounding David’s facility along with a cache of pigeons.
While the initial times were tough, in time, David’s became a destination restaurant and banquet location.
He and his family toughed it out during many years of struggle as the Northside grew up and became a thriving center of commerce including the stadium and new home to the San Francisco 49ers.
It would seem to make sense that our elected representatives could and should, negotiate a fair and appropriate deal as opposed to the costly and heavy hand of eminent domain.