Posts tagged Highest and Best Use.

In Freeport Reg’l Water Auth. v. M&H Realty Partners VI, L.P., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6126 (Sept. 16, 2019), the court walked through a complicated fact pattern involving – in its simplest form – a 40-foot easement for an underground water pipeline.  For our purposes, the key issues were valuing (1) the easement being acquired, (2) the severance damages caused to the remainder parcel, and (3) a temporary construction easement for the pipeline’s installation.  Though it was not technically a eminent domain case because the parties had reached an agreement concerning the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Every year or so, a new appellate court decision comes out addressing the proper role of the judge versus the jury on some certain eminent domain issue. Most recently, a trial court, appellate court and the California Supreme Court all grappled with this question:  Does the judge determine whether a dedication requirement is constitutional, or does the jury?  Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in City of Perris v. Stamper, No. S213468 (Aug. 15, 2016) holding that it is the role of the judge to determine whether a dedication requirement is constitutional.  The ...

We don’t often see multiple takings-related cases in one week, but last week we saw three.  The California Supreme Court’s decision in Property Reserve was obviously the most important, but the Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal in San Diego also issued two decisions in the same week.  Although both of these opinions are unpublished and cannot be cited, they act as a reminder for property owners to be mindful of some basic principles of eminent domain law.

The first case, SANDAG v. Vanta, addresses some of the limits on the principle of just compensation and, in particular ...

Eminent domain practitioners are well versed in analyzing a property's highest and best use.  Under these principles, a property being condemned is not necessarily valued based on its current, existing use.  Where the appraiser can show that the property's actual value is based on a different use, that use can often be the foundation for the valuation (assuming that other use meets the four-part test of highest and best use, which is beyond the scope of this post; if you're really bored today, here's a link to Wikipedia's discussion of highest and best use).

In County of Santa Barbara v ...

Posted in Projects

Eminent domain litigation can be expensive.  Not just the cost of acquiring the property (which is valued based on its highest and best use, and the "highest price" a willing buyer would pay), but the attorneys' fees, expert appraisal fees, and court costs all add up as well.  We're seeing the impact of such costs in the City of Adelanto, where the City has changed course on its plans to acquire a property by eminent domain.  

According to Brooke Self's article in the Victorville Daily Press, Adelanto halts eminent domain efforts, the City of Adelanto once planned to use eminent domain to ...

Posted in Right to Take

It's not too often you see one government agency threaten another agency with eminent domain.  But it does happen.  A recent article by Barbara Henry in the U-T San Diego, Encinitas has few options on Pacific View site, highlights on such dispute taking place right now.

According to the article, the City of Encinitas very much wants to acquire the Encinitas Union School District's 2.8-acre property that formerly housed the Pacific View Elementary School.  But the School District has rejected the City's overtures, turning down a $4.3 million offer to purchase.  Instead, the School ...

Posted in Projects

The Press Democrat is reporting that Sonoma County has agreed to pay $815,000 to acquire by eminent domain a family's 6.5-acre property next to the Charles M. Schulz airport for a runway extension project, settling the contentious case on the eve of trial.  According to the article, Landowners, Sonoma County settle airport expansion lawsuit, the County valued the property at $135,000, while the owner's appraiser reached a valuation conclusion of $1.5 million.  Why the large spread in appraisals?  Apparently because of a dispute over the property's highest and best use.

To provide ...

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

Below are some updates on California projects have turned to eminent domain to complete right-of-way acquisition.  They involve issues that are somewhat typical in condemnation proceedings: disputes over severance damages and a property's highest and best use.  

  • Riverside County Flood Control Project:  According to an article in the North County Times, LAKE ELSINORE: Board authorizes condemnation for flood channel, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors has approved the use of eminent domain to acquire a 5-acre easement across a 33-acre property for the Arroyo Del Toro flood ...
Posted in Events

Last week was quite busy in the world of California eminent domain, and the start of this week appears to be no different.  A few updates:

  • International Right of Way Assocation (IRWA) Chapter 67 is holding its annual, half-day seminar on May 10 at the Holiday Inn in Santa Ana (sorry for the late notice).  The seminar is focused on mobilehome acquisitions and appraisals, and there are a number of great speakers lined up.  (I'll also give a quick update on the City of Los Angeles v. Plotkin decision involving precondemnation damages.)  I hope to see you there.
  • The Marysville Joint Unified ...
Posted in Court Decisions

Another recent interesting court decision was somewhat lost in all the excitement last week over (1) the County of Los Angeles v. Glendora Redevelopment Project case striking down Glendora's redevelopment plan for inadequate blight findings and (2) the US Supreme Court decision in the Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection case rejecting a "judicial takings" claim

That recent decision was by the California Court of Appeal in City of San Jose v. Union Pacific Railroad, which came down a month ago, but received little ...

Posted in Projects

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 ...

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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