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Youth Boxing Club Wins Eminent Domain Case

— A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Community Youth Athletic Center in an eminent domain case against National City on Thursday. The ruling allows the boxing gym, which serves at-risk youth, to stay at its location on National City Boulevard.

"It allows our kids who use this facility to not have to worry about where they are going to go after school the next day," said Victor Nuñez vice president of the Community Youth Athletic Center. "We provide a home to these kids. We provide them with a family and an opportunity for them to learn about athleticism and to do their homework. Now, they know we'll be here in the future."

The ruling is significant in that it may impact how cities in California define blight and help protect property owners.

One issue at hand was whether economic development was legitimate cause for National City to renew its eminent domain authority. However, the ruling denied the claim that it was an illegitimate cause.

"The main thing they were trying to do was make it so cities can not use eminent domain for economic development. They failed on that. The judge threw that part out," said Mayor Ron Morrison.

Another issue was whether the city violated the California Public Records Act when it failed to turn over documents and other evidence to support its claim that the area was blighted.

Superior Court Judge Steven R. Denton ruled that the representatives of the gym and other plantiff's were entitled to a "declaration that National City violated the Public Records Act."

Denton awarded nominal damages to Community Youth Athletic Center in the amount of $1, which is all they sought.

Mayor Morrison claims that National City will now be more cautious when future youth program request funding and that this case has punished those youth the most.

Nuñez with the Community Youth Athletic Center disagreed and said the ruling was "not only a victory for the Community Youth Athletic Center but for the 699 other property owners whose property was declared blighted."

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