Few property owners look forward with any enthusiasm to the date the government finally announces it is moving forward with plans to condemn their property. But owners who pretend that day will never actually arrive often realize too late that they have missed opportunities to protect their investments.
Eminent domain often proceeds over a very long time-table. From project conception to right of way acquisition, years may pass, with properties held up in a cruel limbo as owners wait to see if the project really happens, and if so, whether their property will ultimately be impacted.
In Tulare County, farmers are taking a proactive approach, organizing themselves and becoming educated about the eminent domain process and what they can do to protect themselves.
According to an October 20 California Farm Bureau Federation article by Christine Souza, For farmers facing eminent domain, preparation pays, local farmers are especially concerned with impacts from the upcoming San Joaquin Cross Valley Loop Transmission project, which California's Public Utilities Commission approved in July.
Last week, the Farm Bureau held a seminar about the process:
As with anything you do, it’s really important for you to be aware of the rules and parameters, because knowledge empowers you, [California Farm Bureau Federation associate counsel Karen Norene] Mills said. We held the program to provide basic information prior to the acquisition process, because Edison is a big company and has significant resources.
This is great advice. While most of the time, private owners cannot stop eminent domain from happening, there are many ways in which they can secure higher compensation for the taking. While some of the steps are relatively straight-forward, an attorney trained in eminent domain can make all the difference.
So, if you are facing eminent domain, consider talking to an eminent domain attorney. Even if the acquisition is far in the future, there are things you can and should be doing now to protect yourself.
Rick Rayl is an experienced litigator on a broad range of complex civil litigation issues. His practice is concentrated primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other real-estate-valuation disputes. His public ...
California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain. We cover all aspects of eminent domain, 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 eminent domain conferences and seminars in the Western United States.
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