The Vista City Council decided on December 8 to follow through on a plan to increase sales-tax revenue by purchasing four properties, including the site of North County Ford, then leasing the land back to the business.
The deal would allow North County Ford to move to 355 West Vista Way and would give the company two years to build a Honda or a Toyota dealership at its previous location. The city would pay $10.5 million for properties located at 120 Plymouth Drive and 355, 405, and 450 West Vista Way that belong to North County Ford. A fifth property, the Vista Riviera Motel, is key to the city's plan and may have to be taken by eminent domain.
"If it's taken,” Michael Stump, the owner's attorney, said, "Mr. [Pankaj] Desai does not only have to buy a new home, he's going to have to buy a new business. I cannot describe the major, major impact this taking is going to have on Mr. Desai and his family.
"With that being said, if this is something that the city must do to meet their goals, then I ask that the city and Mr. Rawlings [Bill Rawlings, director of redevelopment and housing] continue to work with us to find a new situation to move not only physically, but to move his livelihood to a new location."
The city estimates that it will generate as much as $84 million in revenue (included in that amount is the increase in property values) over the course of a 30-year lease.