As we have reported in the past, public agencies are often faced with deadlines to secure possession of necessary right of way and ensure project funding. Given the amount of time it takes to secure possession through the court process, agencies must proceed with condemnation actions even where they need additional time to negotiate with property owners. Delaying the condemnation action for several additional months, while likely to lead to a settlement, ultimately places the project at risk if no deal is reached and thereby forces the agency's hand. This is exactly what happened in the City of Lodi.
The Lodi Sentinel-News reports that the City Council passed a Resolution of Necessity to aquire the two remaining properties needed for the Harney grade separation project. According to the article, the Council would have preferred to avoid filing a condemnation action, but delaying the action put the project's Measure K funding at serious risk. So the Council hedged a bit -- it adopted the Resoultion, but directed the City Attorney not to file an action for 30 days while negotiations continued.
Will 30 days be enough? Apparently, the owners are supportive of the project, but question the City's offer of compensation. My guess is they won't be able to bridge the gap and the risk of losing project funding will mean the City will be forced to file the action.
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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