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LETTERS: Historic Preservation Or “Taking Of Property?”


A downtown Moraga real estate agent tasked with finding an appropriate tenant for the landmark Rheem Theater property questions the merit of imposing designated landmark status on important structures – without the owner’s consent.


Thought you might be interested in writing a story about Moraga’s newly adopted Historic Preservation Ordinance that allows the Council to designate such status on a privately owned property WITHOUT the owner’s consent.

I am all for historic preservation when it makes sense, but this seems to be contrary to our property rights as Americans. To me personally, this seems as if government is clearly over stepping its authority on this one and needs to hear from the majority, not just the vocal minority. For all intents and purposes, this appears to be a “taking of property” not unlike eminent domain actions but without any consideration to the property owners for restrictions placed on their property forever into the future. At least with eminent domain, property owners are paid a “fair value” in consideration for the taking that occurs.

If we allow such legislation to stand, where will such government regulations and restrictions stop and what would limit further restrictions on the rights afforded those who own property? If Moragans are not concerned, they should be…

An issue such as this one that limits a private individual’s rights should not be decided by a limited group of individuals, but seemingly more appropriately suited for those who are directly affected – all those who own property, or have rights to such. That is democracy.

If the elected leaders of Moraga truly feel that they have acted in the best interest of their constituents, then they should have no problem putting this matter before the voters for confirmation.

Thanks sincerely for all your efforts in keeping the public well informed.


Dave Schnayer

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