It is common practice for government agencies to condition approval of large developments on providing off-site public improvements. Road widenings, park dedications, etc., are all too familiar for California developers. When those improvements require others' property, many times the government agency utilizes eminent domain on the developer's behalf (with the developer footing the bill). But what if the agency refuses?
According to an Inside Self-Storage article, "Derrel’s Mini Storage Owner Battles City, Homeowner in CA Self-Storage Eminent Domain Case," a self-storage developer is facing this situation in Visalia. And he's not too happy about it. The City previously approved the owner's storage facility, subject to an agreement which required all nearby owners to widen and improve the road to the proposed development. The self-storage developer has agreed to pay for the street widening (a $1.4 million project), but there is one hold-out home owner who refuses to sell the frontage necessary for the street widening.
The developer has sued the home owner for refusing to sell after entering into an agreement to do so, and he's also demanding that the City use eminent domain to acquire the frontage property. The City has so far refused, and the developer is threatening to sue the City as well.
You may wonder how the developer could threaten the City for refusing to use eminent domain. There's actually a statutory obligation under the Subdivision Map Act (Cal. Gov. Code sec. 66462.5) for public agencies to acquire property on the developer's behalf when required for off-site public improvements. Not knowing all the facts, it's tough to determine whether the obligation applies here, but if it does, the City may need to either (1) withdraw the street widening condition of approval (and allow the development to move forward), or (2) acquire the necessary property on the developer's behalf.
Brad Kuhn, Chair of Nossaman's Eminent Domain & Valuation Group, guides property owners, developers, businesses, utilities, and public agencies through complex real estate development and infrastructure projects – ...
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