A&A: Selling property and public input

Selling property and public input

Q: Can a city sell property with just a closed session hearing? No open public hearing on the sale was held.

A: Government Code section 54956.8 permits a legislative body to meet in closed session to advise its negotiator concerning the “price” and “terms of payment” in connection with the purchase, sale, lease or exchange of property by or for the agency. A California appellate court stated that the purpose for the exception arises out of the realities of the commercial market place and the need to prevent the person with whom the local government is negotiating from sitting in on the session at which the negotiating terms are developed.  Kletiman v. Superior Court, 74 Cal. App. 4th 324 (1999).  Before meeting in closed session for this purpose, however, the body must identify the real estate property at issue, the individual who will act as the negotiator, and the persons with whom its negotiator may negotiate.  The agency may designate a member of the body, a staff person, the agency’s attorney or another person to serve as its negotiator.