Posts tagged Caltrans.
Posted in Court Decisions

More than 50 years ago, Caltrans purchased roughly 500 homes under threat of eminent domain within the planned right-of-way for the anticipated construction of the I-710 freeway (linking Monterey Park to Pasadena).  As we reported a number of years ago, Caltrans finally decided to sell those homes once it became clear the alignment would not be utilized.  We haven't heard much on how that sales process was going, but the Pasadena Star reported recently that it has been the subject of litigation, which has now reached an outcome.

In Steve Scauzillo's April San Gabriel Valley Tribune ...

Posted in Projects

As we have seen far too many times in California, eminent domain becomes a key tool for public agencies in order to keep public works construction on schedule and avoid jeopardizing state or federal funding.  According to an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz council approves eminent domain for road widening, situation is playing out in Santa Cruz, where the City Council recently approved the adoption of a resolution of necessity to acquire two properties by eminent domain in order to satisfy a July deadline for a $2.8 million construction grant.

The properties in question ...

Posted in Projects

With the passing of California's new gas tax (SB1) earlier this year, local government agencies have come across a new source of funding to complete public infrastructure projects.  According to an article in the Ceres Courier, Caltrans Seeks Comments on Service Road Interchange, the City of Ceres hopes its Service/Mitchell/Highway 99 Interchange project can benefit from the new funds.  As part of the project, Caltrans and the City are planning one of the State's first "diverging diamond" designs, which would add a new interchange at Service Road and modify the Mitchell ...

When a business is taken as a result of a public improvement, the business is entitled to seek compensation for, among other things, loss of business goodwill. Typically, this loss is calculated by measuring the business’ before-condition value and comparing to its after-condition value.  This traditional methodology was the cornerstone for business goodwill appraisers to determine just compensation.  Yet late last year, the California Court of Appeal issued a ruling in People ex rel. Dep't of Transp. v. Presidio Performing Arts Found. (2016) 5 Cal. App.5th 190 which may have ...

Posted in Projects

For years, we've been working with our public agency clients during the environmental and design-phase to minimize right-of-way impacts with new infrastructure projects.  Yet for many agencies, property acquisitions are an afterthought, as the costs of construction and environmental impacts headline agencies' concerns.  That thought process is slowly beginning to change, as agencies are starting to recognize that right-of-way acquisition can significantly delay projects, resulting in construction delay claims, change orders, loss of project funding, and in ...

In an unpublished opinion filed this week, the California Court of Appeal confirmed two fundamental evidentiary rules related to eminent domain matters:

  1. A witness intending to testify to an opinion of value must exchange a statement of valuation data; and
  2. A witness will be precluded from testifying to a comparable sale if it is determined by the court that the comparable is not comparable and would confuse the jury.

Before we delve into the case, here’s a basic reminder of California law as it pertains to these two issues:

With respect to the court’s first finding, California Code of ...

Posted in Projects

The City of Temecula is moving forward with the French Valley Parkway.  The project involves construction of a new arterial, as well as improvements to the I-15 Winchester Road interchange.  Phase I of the project included constructing southbound off-ramps for the future Parkway.  These ramps are complete, but as a post on The Transit Coalition Inland Empire blog asked a year ago - "What the heck is going on with French Valley Parkway?"   The answer is the same now as it was then -- Caltrans and the City are working to establish the scope and phasing of the remaining improvements.  So when will it ...

At its meeting last week, the California Transportation Commission allocated $174.8 million to 85 projects around the state.  Some of the projects receiving allocations this month include:

  • $22.5 million for  construction of SR-905/SR-125 connectors in San Diego
  • $20 million to realign Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County away from the eroding shoreline
  • $19.4 million to rehabilitate the Elysian Viaduct Bridge in Los Angeles
  • $6.3 million for reabilitation of the Sierra Point Overhead bridge near South San Francisco
  • $5.9 million to replace the aging Hilt Road Overcrossing on I-5 near ...
Posted in Projects

At its meeting last week, the California Transportation Commission allocated $1 billion for local streets, highways and public transit.  This means a significant amount of money will be available for city, county and regional transportation agencies who will submit their projects to Caltrans in the coming months.   You can read Caltrans District 7 Press Release here.

The projects are spread around the state and include some major funding for rail projects as well as the usual highway improvements and also show that money will be coming to several California regions.  You can see a full ...

Posted in Projects

As reported in the Willits News, Caltrans is going forward with public workshops for the Sherwood Road Intersection Project, one of four "child projects" of the Willits Bypass project, which is anticipated to increase the traffic on Sherwood Road.

But Willits residents won't be seeing improvements any time soon, because construction is dependent on the opening of the Willits bypass, a segment of US 101 through Mendocino County that has been in the works since the 1950's.  And construction of the bypass is currently suspended while Caltrans and the Army Corps of Engineers work ...

Posted in Projects

As reported in Caltrans District 11's press release, there is much good news coming out of California Transportation Commission's meeting last week.  First, thanks to a new state budget that increased transportation funding by $351 million, CTC revised its budget for SHOPP projects to $2.4 billion.

Local projects also received good news with CTC's award of $510 Million to 83 transportation projects around the state.  As reported by Progressive Railroading, several rail projects received significant funding, which will hopefully allow those projects to proceed to ...

Posted in Projects

According to Jason Henry's article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, West Covina contests condemnation of properties at Westfield Mall, Lakes Drive, the City of West Covina plans to contest an eminent domain action filed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to acquire land near Westfield Mall needed for the expansion of the I-10 Freeway.  

Caltrans' proposed acquisition will eliminate a California Pizza Kitchen, the former Bob's Big Boy building, an AT&T store, as well as a row of parking spaces along the I-10 near Lakes Drive.  The City claims that Caltrans ...

Posted in Projects

More than 50 years ago, Caltrans purchased roughly 500 homes under threat of eminent domain within the planned right-of-way for the anticipated construction of the I-710 freeway (linking Monterey Park to Pasadena).  That freeway project still has not been built, yet Caltrans continues to own the properties.  There have been plenty of negative news stories about the amount of money Caltrans has spent on the upkeep of those residences (see Gideon's Trumpet), but apparently Caltrans' property ownership may finally come to an end.  Not because the I-710 freeway is actually going to be ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Eminent domain cases typically revolve around a "date of value" – the date on which property is valued in determining the amount of just compensation the condemning agency must pay.  That date is set by statute; typically, it is the date on which the agency deposits the amount of "probable compensation" to be awarded.  But sometimes, the agency's activities, such as project planning and acquisition efforts, negatively affect the value of the property.  In such circumstances, property owners may attempt to hold the agency responsible for such declines in value by claiming (1 ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the owner of Silveira Ranch are involved in an interesting valuation dispute stemming from Caltrans' acquisition of part of the ranchland needed for Highway 101 improvements.  According to an article in the Marin Independent Journal, Judge gives state a nod in Silveira ranch eminent domain case, the parties disagree on the property's highest and best use, and as a result, they are widely off on their valuation opinions.  Caltrans has offered the owner $1.8 million for the acquisition, while the owner is demanding $6 ...

Posted in Projects

California continues to move forward with more infrastructure improvement projects.  According to an article in the Daily Republic, Agency starts eminent domain proceedings for I-80/680 project, the Solano Transportation Authority and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are embarking on a $100 million-plus project to improve traffic flow near the Interstates 80 and 680 interchange.  The project includes widening the freeway and constructing new on-ramps at the Green Valley Road interchange.

In order to move forward with project construction ...

Posted in Projects

As we mentioned in our recent 2012 Eminent Domain Year in Review, we've seen a boom of infrastructure projects in California -- a trend we expect to continue into the near future.  So what exactly are we talking about?  Here's just a few examples:

  • California Transportation Commission's $64 Million Allocation:  According to a Caltrans press release, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) recently allocated $64 million to 43 projects that will reduce traffic congestion and repair highways, local streets, and bridges.  You can find a list of the projects ...
Posted in Projects

In order to construct the Silva Valley Interchange on Highway 50, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution on January 4, 2013 to acquire approximately 12 acres by eminent domain.  As reported by In El Dorado County, the county could not negotiate a deal with the owner of a 52 acre block of which the county seeks the 12 acres. The owner did not oppose the project but expressed concerns as to the impacts it would have on his remaining acreage. 

While the Board maintains that using eminent domain is not common for them and Caltrans forced its ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Those don't quite sound like the lyrics to the early-90's popular Ace of Base hit, "The Sign."  But they likely describe the situation of many travelers on the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles thanks to a recent California Court of Appeal decision denying a property owner's inverse condemnation action, and upholding Caltrans' required removal of an 8,000 square foot "wallscape" advertising space on the 155 West Washington Boulevard building.  

In West Washington Properties v. California Department of Transportation, a property owner filed an action against Caltrans seeking to (1 ...

Posted in Projects

If you're an infrastructure and right of way junkie like me, you'll be interested in a few of the updates below.  If you're not a transportation nut (and understandably so), it still doesn't hurt to get caught up on the happenings in California and at the federal level.  So read on.

MAP-21:  This Summer, Congress passed the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act."  If you ever hear the acronym MAP-21 thrown around, this Act is what's being referred to.  What does it do and why do you care?  In its simplest terms, the Act reauthorizes transportation funding through the end of 2014.  But ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On January 19, 2012, the California Court of Appeal issued an unpublished decision addressing this very question.  Specifically, in Flying J, Inc. v. Department of Transportation, Case No. F060545, the Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claim for lost profits, finding that plaintiff's evidence was not sufficiently comparable in character and its calculations relied on too much conjecture about future events.      

Plaintiff Flying J operates truck stops.  In 1997, it purchased an 18.8 acre parcel adjacent to State Routes 14 and 58 in the Mojave ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Before a public agency can exercise the power of eminent domain, it must adopt a resolution of necessity making certain findings in support of the taking of property.  The resolution defines the scope of the agency's acquisition, and the agency is typically prevented from contradicting the terms of the resolution in the eminent domain action.

There is a delicate balancing-act in drafting the scope of the taking in the resolution.  If the scope is too narrow, the agency may ultimately need to go back and acquire additional rights or property.  On the other hand, if the scope is too broad, it ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On July 29, 2011, the California Court of Appeal issued an unpublished decision confirming that when condemned property is subject to a roadway easement, and the property owner fails to demonstrate that there is "something special attaching to it," regardless of how the property is ordinarily bought or sold, the landowner is only entitled to nominal value.

In People ex rel. Department of Transportation v. Bakker, No. F060030, the California Department of Transportation (Department) condemned 18.13 acres of land belonging to the Bakkers, 4.4 acres of which were subject to a ...

Posted in Projects

Want to know what's going on with some of Southern California's largest infrastructure projects?  Here's a quick update.

  • I-5 Corridor Improvements:  If you live in California, you've almost certainly spent many hours on the 5 freeway.  It runs from the US/Mexico border all the way through Oregon and even up into Canada.  With Southern California's population growth, Caltrans has invested over $3 billion to improve two areas of the I-5 over the next five years:  (i) the segment between the Orange County line and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605); and (ii) the segment between the ...
Posted in Projects

It's not often we go an entire week without a blog post, but last week was a bit hectic on our end.  Here's a few California eminent domain and infrastructure updates from throughout the week:

  • San Bernardino Eminent Domain:  In its article "IVDA approves eminent domain for Tippecanoe widening," The Riverside Press-Enterprise is reporting that the Inland Valley Development Agency has authorized moving forward with eminent domain to acquire 461 square feet of property in San Bernardino near the north east corner of Tippecanoe and Central Avenue as part of a street widening effort ...
Posted in Projects

Today the California Transportation Commission announced the allocation of $101 million to fund 90 state-wide transportation projects.  The CTC's updated project allocation list provides a full breakdown of all the projects.

In reviewing the project list, there appears to be a big push towards going "green":  many of the projects involve improvements such as tree planting, compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, pedestrian and bicycle trails, or acquisition of property for restoration and habitat protection.  There's also a handful of ...

Posted in Projects

We noted in our 2010 year-in-review E-Alert that the stimulus dollars were starting to make their way towards local agencies so infrastructure projects could be built.  2011 is now off to a fast start:  according to a recent Caltrans press release, the California Transportation Commission has announced the allocation of $1 billion towards 107 California transportation projects, including $838 million from Proposition 1B bond funds (which was approved by voters in 2006).

Here are some of the highlights as to how these funds will be utilized:

  • $46.55 million to install rail ...
Posted in Projects

I live in Orange County.  Every time I contemplate a trip to San Diego, I run the calculations: 

  • How bad is the I-5 freeway going to be;
  • How badly do I need to be in San Diego; and
  • Can I find a way to extend/change my schedule to avoid the worst of the traffic? 

Granted, I engage in the same internal debate when I need to head towards Los Angeles, but at least going that direction, I have a number of route choices.  Going to San Diego, it's basically the I-5 or stay home. 

Caltrans is in the midst of a major planning process for possible expansion of the I-5 between La Jolla and Oceanside.  The public ...

Posted in Events

Both Chapters 57 and 67 of the IRWA have June meetings upcoming (their last meetings before the summer hiatus).  Details are:

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain in California. We cover all aspects of eminent domain in California, 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 California eminent domain conferences and seminars.

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