We've reported in the past about some of the regulatory takings issues created as a result of the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority's ("RCA") efforts to conserve property pursuant to the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan ("MSHCP"). It now appears that those conservation efforts have created quite the turmoil with citizens in the City of Murrieta.
According to a recent North County Times article, "MURRIETA: Landowners frustrated with conservation board, city leaders who refuse to meet," about 100 members have organized a group called the Members of Citizens for Quality of Life in Murrieta in an effort to get the City's and the RCA's attention about the ramifications of the MSHCP. In particular, the property owners are frustrated with the MSHCP process and how they've been unable to develop their property without having to give up large portions of their land.
The article recounts stories we've heard from many property owners, describing the exhausting maze of paperwork that must be completed, the hundreds of thousands of dollars that must be spent on biological studies, and the repeated denial of any attempt to ultimately develop. And at the end of the process, the owners claim that they are often left with little choice but to sign a contingent, below-market-value purchase agreement proposed by the RCA that, according to one owner, "will destroy your ability to ever sell your land."
The group wants a sit-down meeting with the City and the RCA, but so far, that meeting has been rebuked. The reason, according to the City and the RCA, is due to the fact that there is a pending lawsuit brought by the Calvary Chapel - Murrieta seeking $25 million in damages as a result of the MSHCP's designating the church's 118-acre property for conservation. It will be interesting to follow that lawsuit and the impact it has on negotiations with other owners.
Brad Kuhn, Chair of Nossaman's Eminent Domain & Valuation Group, guides property owners, developers, businesses, utilities, and public agencies through complex real estate development and infrastructure projects – ...
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