Bailey’s Brake Shop: Could this Happen Again in Arizona?

As construction on the Mesa light-rail extension project is set to begin in 2013, many private businesses and property owners will be facing efforts by the City to acquire all or part of the impacted properties. The 3.1 mile extension into downtown Mesa is clearly a public project, thus appropriate for using the power of eminent domain to acquire the land needed for the project from private owners. This is in contrast to the City’s attempts several years ago to improve the downtown corridor.

In April of 2002, an Arizona judge’s ruling allowed the City to seize Bailey’s Brake Shop, a family-owned business, operating in the same location for over 30 years. The City wanted to sell Randy Bailey’s property to an Ace Hardware store, failing to acknowledge that it is against the Constitution to take property from one private owner and give it to another private owner. However, the City argued that they were seizing the property for redevelopment on the claim that the property was blighted and that redevelopment of the property was necessary in the interest of public welfare.

The Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter represented Randy Bailey in an appeal, and on October 1, 2003, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against the City of Mesa’s use of eminent domain, protecting Bailey’s Brake Shop from seizure. The Arizona Court of Appeals overturned the earlier decision, stating that the taking was not proper. The opinion went on to outline a series of questions to be considered when evaluating if a taking is truly for a public purpose. Accordingly, cases like Bailey’s Brake Shop are not likely, but the potential for abuse still remains.

The use of eminent domain by local governments is becoming more common and less lawful throughout the United States. If you or anyone you know may be facing eminent domain, I urge you to meet with an experienced Arizona eminent domain attorney that can help you understand your options. Protect your property rights as an American citizen by calling (480)-428-3572 to set up a consultation.

An End to Some Local Mesa Favorites

Of the several locations set to undergo partial to full acquisition by the City of Mesa’s light-rail extension project, five of them are auto shops. MCJ’s Tires & Wheels, De Valle Motors, Mesa Muffler, Wilky’s Performance Center, and Gunnell’s Tire & Auto are among the businesses facing partial to full seizure. As the light-rail project in essence implies the promotion of public transportation, is it also strategically displacing downtown Mesa auto shops?

While one could easily argue this position, it’s doubtful that this is more than an unfortunate coincidence. Though it might seem suspicious that more than half of the properties preparing for 100% acquisition are in the automotive repair and service industry, it should be taken into consideration that these stores are all located on Main St. within a three-mile stretch.

Downtown Mesa will surely miss these long-standing businesses. Wilky’s Performance Shop has been in operation for several decades, and Gunnell’s Tire & Auto since 1953. As Theresa S. from Queen Creek writes in her Yelp review, Gunnell’s provides the “quickest service I’ve ever experienced for getting tires rotated and/or balanced.” While the light-rail is projected to bring great economic advancement to some areas of downtown, it signals the end of an era for some local favorites.

If you have been affected, or have received notice that your home or business will be affected by the light-rail extension project, I highly suggest that you contact an experienced Arizona eminent domain attorney. Call (480)-428-3572 to set up a consultation to better understand your rights as a property owner.

The Mesa Metro Business Assistance Program

The 3.1 mile light-rail extension set to begin in 2013 is expected to affect the numerous businesses along its route. The construction is going to make it very difficult, if not occasionally impossible, for consumers to access these businesses. While City officials are focusing on maximizing the economic impact that the extension will bring to downtown Mesa, it’s hard to say what the economic loss for local businesses will be in the meantime.

To help ease the inevitable struggles ahead, Metro Light Rail has developed a Metro Business Assistance Program aimed at keeping the affected businesses alive and thriving during the extension’s construction. The Program includes free signs and banners alerting customers of businesses open during construction, as well as a 24-hour hotline where questions or concerns can be directed. The Assistance Program is offering a variety of free marketing and promotional support to affected business, such as the Metro Max Rewards Program which offers discounts as incentives for customers to frequently visit the businesses along the construction route.

If you have been affected, or have received notice that your home or business will be affected by the light-rail extension project, I highly suggest that you contact an experienced Arizona eminent domain attorney. Call (480)-428-3572 to set up a consultation to better understand your rights as a property owner.