Transferring Public Property

Two weeks ago, West Covina got into trouble because of findings in a State Controller’s Office audit that involved purported improper transfer of city property to a developer. Last week, critics questioned the private sale of a Los Angeles fire station to a developer.

Cities need to know how they must navigate through the legal process to dispose of public properties. State law requires local governments first to offer to sell or lease such properties to other public entities. Los Angeles city codes outline a process for selling unused property, including obtaining an appraisal, but the city does not always explain why it decides to sell a property through a direct sale, rather than by auction, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

The California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED), California’s premier economic development association, specializes in teaching economic developers, local elected officials and state representatives the value of economic development and how it is used to grow businesses, generate revenue to support community development programs, and retain and create quality jobs.

I will be adding a talk on legal ramifications of disposing of public properties at my next training session at CALED this fall, when I will lecture for the third year in a row on Real Estate and Development at the CALED/CSU Fresno Extension Economic Development Institute this October. RSG is always ready and able to help clients to navigate bureaucratic procedures.

Written by Jim Simon, a Principal at RSG.