Posted in Water
Valuing Water Rights in Eminent Domain

As water becomes scarcer in California, public agencies are looking for new sources and opportunities to provide water to their communities. When the government identifies those water sources but confronts unwilling sellers, eminent domain sometimes becomes necessary. This is currently taking place in the Antelope Valley, where the Rosamond Community Services District recently approved the adoption of a resolution of necessity to acquire water rights from agricultural land by eminent domain.

The District is facing shortages in its future water supplies and it is limited in ...

Posted in Court Decisions
Balancing the Grantor and Grantee’s Rights to Use an Easement

Some easements will contain express language that delineates the respective rights of the grantor and grantee to make use of the easement.  Other times, even absent express language, a grantor can be prevented from using an easement if such use would unreasonably interfere with the rights of the easement holder.  For further discussion of an example when express easement language is not needed to limit the use of the easement by the grantor, check out our prior post entitled “Utilities Have the Right to Remove Trees Within an Easement.” …. 

Eminent Domain Helps Satisfy Conditions of Approval

Developers often have to satisfy various conditions of approval in order to achieve the necessary approvals to move forward with a project.  Sometimes these conditions include requirements to acquire land for public improvements, such as a new sewer line or road, and those improvements are often located on property not owned by the developer.  When the developer is unable to acquire those rights through voluntary negotiations, the city imposing the conditions of approval is generally required to use eminent domain to acquire the rights for the developer …

Federal Court Decides to Take a Back Seat to State Takings Case

In Knick v. Township of Scott, 139 S.Ct. 2162 (2019), the Supreme Court reversed over three decades of precedent when it eliminated the requirement that a plaintiff exhaust state court remedies before pursuing a takings challenge in federal court.  After the Supreme Court’s decision, federal courts experienced a significant uptick in the number of federal takings lawsuits.  In Gearing v. City of Half Moon Bay, the City was able to convince the federal court to take a back seat and allow a later-filed state court eminent domain action to proceed while the federal takings lawsuit was put ...

Court Boots California Coastal Act Takings Case

The California Coastal Act is a regulatory regime with many layers and complexities. Generally, however, the Act requires development within a designated coastal zone to obtain a coastal development permit. This permit may be issued by the local jurisdiction, the California Coastal Commission, or in rare cases, by both the local jurisdiction and the Coastal Commission. Even if the local jurisdiction has the authority to issue the permit in the first instance, the California Coastal Act may allow an aggrieved party to appeal the local jurisdiction’s decision to the California ...

SCOTUS Says Eviction Bans Intrude on a Fundamental Element of Property Ownership

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority when it imposed a national eviction moratorium. More precisely, in Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, the Court agreed with a district court determination that the CDC acted unlawfully in banning evictions of residential tenants who declare financial need in counties with high COVID-19 rates. In its decision, the Supreme Court concluded, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must ...

The Dedication Doctrine vs. The Project Influence Rule – Which Valuation Methodology Applies? 

Property dedication requirements and eminent domain usually don’t mix well: they make for an odd and confusing set of valuation rules. For example, if an agency seeks to condemn property to build a road through an undeveloped area, but that road would be required in order to develop the properties, how should it be valued? Under one set of eminent domain rules (the Porterville doctrine), the property subject to dedication has little value since it would have to be given up as part of any future development. Under another set of eminent domain rules (the “project influence rule” ...

SCOTUS’ Take on Takings

The Supreme Court of the United States rarely hears anything related to eminent domain or takings cases; the Kelo decision in 2005 was the latest “big” case for our industry, although the 2019 Knick decision also made headlines. But in the last week, SCOTUS has shown a keen interest in property rights, rendering several impactful decisions – with a focus on California in particular.

We just reported on the Cedar Point Nursery decision, where the Court found that a regulation allowing unions to access private property constituted a taking. Now, the Court has issued several more ...

Posted in Right to Take

On June 23rd, the United States Supreme Court held that a California regulation allowing labor organizations to intermittently access agricultural employers’ property was an unconstitutional taking. The Court reversed the decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, an outcome we predicted in our post last year about this issue. The decision is a major victory for property owners, and raises questions going forward about a public agency’s ability to regulate private property rights—particularly as it pertains to allowing temporary access … 

Can a Public Agency Condemn Property to Prevent a Proposed Private Use?

In the City of Fresno, the Tower Theatre is a bohemian landmark, opened in 1929 as a 20th Century Fox Movie House. This year, it became public that Adventure Church was buying the theatre, which has caused tensions to rise in the community, with thousands signing a petition to save the historic theatre, weeks of demonstrations trying to prevent its use as a church, and even a pending lawsuit. The City attempted to defuse the situation by offering Adventure Church an alternative location, which also backfired. So what’s next? The City may be considering using eminent domain to prevent ...

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain in California. We cover all aspects of eminent domain in California, including condemnation, inverse condemnation, and regulatory takings. We also keep track of current cases, project announcements, budget issues, legislative reform efforts, and report on all major California eminent domain conferences and seminars.

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