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 Although both of these opinions are unpublished and cannot be cited, they act as a reminder for property owners to be mindful of some basic principles of eminent domain law.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).
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court decided one of two pending cases dealing with inclusionary housing, holding that when a public agency requires a developer to convey units at below market rates and make substantial cash payments, the developer may challenge these conditions under the California Mitigation Fee Act. (Sterling Park v. City of Palo Alto (Oct. 17, 2013) 2013 Cal. Lexis 8112.) The California Supreme Court’s decision clarifies the scope of the Mitigation Fee Act, confirming that inclusionary in-lieu fees are subject to the essential nexus and rough ...
Business goodwill appears to be a hot topic for the California Court of Appeal, as it was the primary issue in the recent LAUSD v. Casasola opinion, and is again the focus of an unpublished decision that came down last week, People Ex Rel. Department of Transportation v. Ahn.
In Ahn, Caltrans condemned a shopping center where Ahn owned and operated a framing store and art gallery. After Caltrans took possession, the owner transferred to a relocation site. At trial, Caltrans' goodwill expert determined the business had $26,000 of goodwill in the "before condition," and ...
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