In eminent domain cases, it is uncommon that right to take challenges are upheld, and when they are, it is typically a procedural deficiency that can be cured. It is even more unusual where a right to take challenge is successful based on the condemning entity not possessing the power of eminent domain. But, that is exactly what recently happened with an eminent domain case in Northern California involving a popular excursion train – the Skunk Train. ...
Throughout the United States, old railroad corridors are being abandoned and converted into other uses, such as hiking, biking or other trail purposes. This converted use makes sense, as it is difficult to otherwise compile a long stretch of right-of-way that would be needed to create such trails. But are adjacent property owners entitled to some sort of just compensation when this conversion takes place? The answer is maybe.
Before a railroad operator can abandon its right-of-way, it must first secure approvals by the Surface Transportation Board. When that abandonment process ...
The City of Menlo Park is proceeding with two transportation projects. The first one, an undercrossing to separate bicycles and pedestrians from rail traffic at Middle Avenue, received the green light from the City Council on December 15. The City has committed $210,000 and has authorized staff to apply for an additional $490,000 in San Mateo County Measure A sales tax funds to pay for preliminary engineering work on the project. The City estimates that the design and construction of the undercrossing will cost approximately $11 million.
The City’s second project is the Ravenswood ...
The Supreme Court is apparently not done with its recent interest in takings decisions. Following the decisions in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States, Horne v. Department of Agriculture, and Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt District, the Supreme Court announced today that it will hear another takings case, Marvin M. Brandt Irrevocable Trust v. United States. The Supreme Court's blog describes the issue in Brandt as follows:
Whether the United States retained an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of ...
Light rail and rapid transit appear to be the hot ticket in California. Most of our right-of-way acquisition and eminent domain work over the last few years has centered on such projects. One interesting dispute that regularly pops up between the land owner's appraiser and the public agency's appraiser is whether or not there are "project benefits". In analyzing the property's "before-condition" value, such benefits need to be excluded (whether positive or negative). (See Code Civ. Proc., sec. 1263.330.) But when assessing the property's "after-condition" value in the case ...
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 ...
From 1901 to 1961, the Pacific Electric Railway -- or the "Red Car" -- operated as one of Southern California's primary mass transit options, connecting Orange and Los Angeles Counties in a large series of rail corridors. Now, officials are examining ways to reuse the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor, an abandoned 20-mile rail corridor running from Santa Ana to Paramount.
According to a June 14 Orange County Register article, "Is reusing the old Pacific Electric Railway a possibility?, the hope is that someone can find a way to use the abandoned rail line to ...
San Bernardino currently has over a dozen overpass or underpass projects planned throughout the county. Last month, officials had planned to move forward with condemnation proceedings for one such project, the $20 million Hunts Lane overpass located at the Colton-San Bernardino city line.
But according to a Riverside Press-Enterprise article, "Hunts Lane overpass causes some concern," nearby property owners voiced concern over the railroad grade separation project's impacts to their businesses, such as blocking access and destroying visibility. As a ...
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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