Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority v. C & C Real Estate, Inc

In Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority v. C & C Real Estate, Inc., 272 Va. 2, 630 S.E.2d 505 (Va. 2006) the Supreme Court of Virginia confronted an issue similar to the circumstances before us. In 1988, the Norfolk City Council determined that an area of Norfolk was blighted and adopted a conservation plan allowing the Housing Authority to acquire property by exercising its power of eminent domain. Norfolk Redev. & Hous. Auth. v. C & C Real Estate, Inc., 630 S.E.2d at 508-09. Condemnation proceedings, however, did not occur until fifteen years later. Id. at 508. The lower court dismissed the Housing Authority's condemnation petition based in part on a finding that the delay in seeking condemnation raised due process concerns. Id. The Housing Authority appealed. Id. On appeal, the court acknowledged that while the original plan was presumptively valid, the current status of the property must be examined to determine whether the original purpose of the acquisition remained viable at the time the taking occurred. Id. at 509-10. If a property has changed such that it no longer meets the original criteria, taking pursuant to the plan would no longer be authorized. Id. at 510. The court concluded that the evidence was insufficient to rebut the Housing Authority's finding that the property was condemnable pursuant to the original plan. Id. As the court explained, "there is no limitations period defined by statute for acquiring property under a conservation plan." Id. at 511. The court compared the language of the conservation plan with other redevelopment plans and remarked that the "absence of a limitations period for conservation plans is reasonable because conservation projects are by nature long-term undertakings." Id.