Oakland Seizes Land, Swaps Retailer

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Revelli Tire ( search) has been a family-owned business in Oakland, Calif., for 56 years. But if action by the city council remains on course, the tire store will have to find a new home or go the way of the dinosaur.

In July, using the power of eminent domain, the Oakland City Council evicted John Revelli from his store and locked the doors. The council's argument: One landowner should not impede the progress of a city on the move.

"I am being forced to give up and give away all I have worked for all these years," Revelli told FOX News.

• Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' William La Jeunesse.

"It is a compelling story, but it is not correct because we offered far and away more than what the land value was," said City of Oakland redevelopment director Dan Vanderpriem.

Revelli's property is located in a block targeted for redevelopment. Not only the tire store but dozens of other parcels have been seized so a private developer can put in condominiums and apartments.

The city also used its power of eminent domain to obtain the parcel for a commercial retailer, Sears, which wants to put in its tire store.

"Sears is our only major retailer," said Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid. "We have a responsibility in terms of being able to keep Sears in downtown Oakland for what we hope will be a strong viable retail base."

"We have a situation where Sears is being allowed to stay in the project with their existing tire shop while the city wants us out of there. It doesn't make sense to me," Revelli said.

The situation doesn't make sense to a lot of U.S. lawmakers either. On Thursday, the House voted to defend the rights of landowners by cutting federal funds to municipalities that seize private property for commercial development. The bill is meant to strong-arm cities into only using eminent domain only for public use projects like schools and parks, not to seize private land in the name of urban renewal.

Click in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News' William La Jeunesse.