Many times before a government agency actually commits itself to moving forward with acquiring a property for a public project, the agency needs to undertake certain testing at the site to make sure the site is viable and feasible. After all, no agency wants to unknowingly be stuck with a contaminated property or one that cannot support the proposed use. The testing involved usually involves various degrees of soil sampling and boring.
Public agencies typically seek permission from the owner of the property in question to conduct the testing. But what happens when the owner says "no"? Well, there's a set of statutes in the California Eminent Domain Law that gives agencies the power to obtain court approval to enter upon the site and conduct the necessary testing. (See Code of Civil Procedure sections 1245.020 - 1245.60.) The testing is subject to certain limitations, and the agency is required to deposit funds, and leave them on deposit for several months after the inspection is complete in case it causes any damage.
This is what is going on right now in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. According to an article in the Modesto Bee, California pushes for access to Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta private properties, the State Department of Water Resources is sending out the notices in order to conduct the necessary soil inspections as part of its plans to potentially build a water diversion canal or tunnel. The court has apparently already placed limitations on the DWR's ability to access the properties. So far, at least 170 properties are impacted.
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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