On Tuesday, the City of Lake Forest voted unanimously to move forward with plans to condemn a 6.11-acre parcel to use as a land swap with the County of Orange. The property will likely end up being incorporated into Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.
According to Orange County Register reporter Erika I. Ritchie, in her November 4 article "City moves forward with seizure of family's land," the property's owner, the Hernandez family, has resisted all efforts by the City to acquire the property voluntarily. But the City needs the property to complete a land swap with the County that will facilitate the City's plans for a sports park:
[C]ounty officials have agreed to a land swap that will provide the city with more space for its proposed sports park and the county with an added parcel to become part of Limestone-Whiting Wilderness Park.
The real issue, as is most often the case when the government resorts to eminent domain, appears to be money. The Hernandez family believes the property should be valued for a commercial use, and claims that such properties are selling for $25 to $45 per square foot. The City's appraiser has apparently concluded that the property's highest and best use is not commercial, as the City's offer is purportedly for only $3 per square foot.
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 ...
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