Oceanside Hospital to Use Eminent Domain, but is it Proper?
Posted in Right to Take

Eminent domain is typically used in the context of a freeway widening, a grade separation project, a utility corridor, or perhaps a new school.  It's not often you hear about the use of eminent domain in the healthcare industry.  But it does happen. 

Take a recent example in Oceanside:  the Tri-City Medical Center, a public hospital, is looking to expand its facility.  It apparently has the power of eminent domain, and according to a North County Times article, OCEANSIDE:  Tri-City seeks to take land through eminent domain, it's ready to use that power this week by adopting a resolution of necessity and proceeding with the condemnation of a .83-acre parcel.

Like any government agency, Tri-City has obtained an appraisal and attempted to voluntarily purchase the property; however, it's $1.5 million offer is too low for the property's owner, who believes the property is worth $2.5-$3 million.  Tri-City has also followed the necessary steps of offering to pay up to $5,000 for the owner to obtain an independent appraisal.

However, there may be other issues.  At the resolution of necessity hearing, the owner intends to raise right to take challenges, particularly based on the fact that Tri-City apparently does not have an identified use for the property.  (Property owners are typically required to raise any challenges at the resolution hearing or those challenges may be waived.)

Tri-City has apparently stated that its acquisition of the property will provide flexibility for future development; this "purpose" could be a bit troubling.  (See City of Stockton v. Marina Towers [denying agency's right to take where there were no real plans for the acquired property at the time of the adoption of the resolution of necessity].)  However, Tri-City also claims the property will provide better access to the emergency room and that there is a chronic need for parking.  If Tri-City can show that it is acquiring the property in order to serve the hospital's dire parking needs, then the owner's challenge may be more of an uphill battle.

If no deal is reached in the near future, we'll follow this one and see whether the owner is successful in court challenging Tri-City's right to take.

10/5/11 UPDATE:  Tri-City's Board of Directors declined to adopt the resolution of necessity, so condemnation proceedings will not be moving forward, at least not at this time.

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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