10th Circuit Revises Urban Renewal Decision

A new footnote in the opinion clarifies when a municipality is required to notify a property owner of a blight finding

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit on July 31, revised its opinion in M.A.K Investment Group v. City of Glendale and Glendale Urban Renewal Authority, narrowing the application of the earlier decision that held municipalities must notify individual property owners after determining their property is blighted.

The original opinion issued on May 14 seemingly applied to any finding of blight by a municipality. However, a footnote in the recent revised opinion clarified that the decision “only concerns the notice due when a property owner has a right to challenge a blight determination that can lead to transfer of the property.”

Barring a petition for cert to the U.S. Supreme Court, the case will be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck shareholder Carolynne White, co-chair of the firm’s real estate department, said the initial decision was “surprising.” She said several of her clients were concerned about what they felt was a new broad requirement for notice. “There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 urban renewal plans all adopted prior to this court case, and I would wager that none of them provided that individual notice because it was never required,” White said. “I still think the original decision was wrong, but the clarification significantly improves the situation for everyone who wants to do an urban renewal project.”

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