The Gold Line Construction Authority officially moved to condemn 14 acres of Monrovia land Wednesday in a contingency plan meant to keep the Foothill Extension on track if a state court decision voids a deal between the two parties.
Monrovia agreed to in July for use in a critical to the progress of the Foothill Extension.
But a lawsuit that will determine the threatens to derail the deal. If the California State Supreme Court rules that legislation dismantling the agencies is constitutional, the Gold Line land deal will effectively die.
Lisa Levy Buch, spokeswoman for the GLCA, said via email that the eminent domain action is a back-up plan in case the courts decide against redevelopment.
"[The GLCA board] unanimously approved it with the understanding that should the Supreme Court rule in favor of redevelopment agencies, this action doesn't negate our ability to move forward with a negotiated agreement," Buch wrote.
Outgoing Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa said that the city will vigorously fight any condemnation action, but he did not anticipate that the use of eminent domain would actually come to pass. Even if the court rules against redevelopment agencies, special legislation would likely allow the city to execute its deal with the GLCA, he said.
"We’re going to monitor the situation," Ochoa said. "We’re obviously concerned as it impacts Monrovia's interests but at the end of the day we expect the Gold Line to honor the deal made in good faith negotiation."
Buch said the eminent domain action came into play after officials heard that the prospects of victory in the redevelopment lawsuit "didn't sound very good." If the state eliminates redevelopment, the property on Evergreen Avenue owned by the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency will be .
"My understanding is that if the state rules in that worst case scenario there is no agency to negotiate with," Buch said.
A court ruling is expected to come down by Jan. 15, Buch said.