Two wrongs ...
... don't make a right, right? Self-storage has played the underdog in the saga of eminent domain, but I recently read an article regarding a storage developer who's trying to bully a nursery out of its real estate. The property owner, Southern California Edison, wants Persson's Nursery of Pasadena, Calif., to relocate to a site across the street so it can re-lease the land for self-storage; but the cost of the move would be the death blow to this already struggling business.
Apparently, this fight has been going on almost three years, but recent developments have brought the issue to a head. First, the city has told the nursery it can't keep the business license it's held for 35 years. It must apply for a new one, which requires it to catch up to newer city codes regarding fences, irrigation systems, parking, etc. Second, the site developer offered the Perssons money for the move, but would not disclose the amount. The nursery owners estimate they need $250,000. In the end, they agreed to relinquish the property at the end of the year and close their doors. They're already liquidating their assets.
The city claims it was willing to pay for the move—it just couldn't offer the Perssons anything in writing until the deal was aproved and the money backed by the majority of the city council. And how long are the Perssons supposed to wait for that, I wonder? In the meantime, a group of 65 local residents have formed the Pasadena Open Space Preservation to oppose the storage facility and save the nursery. Talk about complicated.
In all fairness, Edison owns the land and can do what it wants with it. But if the company's going to lease parcels, it needs to understand the consequences of moving businesses around like pieces on a checkerboard: Somebody wins, somebody loses. Seems like there are too many small operations losing these days. Generally, it's the storage company on that end of the equation. It's interesting to see the tide turned here, yet I still can't justify it. What do YOU think?
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