Valuation Disputes Centering on Severance Damages and Highest & Best Use
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 control project.  The proposed flood control channel will help protect a cemetery and nearby businesses from flooding risks.  However, the government agency and the property owner are far apart on price:  the agency has valued the easement at $226,000, while the owner's appraiser has valued the easement at $621,000.  The owner believes the channel will impact the ability to develop the remainder of the property.  These types of damages are known as "severance damages," and the owner will have the opportunity for a jury to determine just compensation.
  • Fresno Intersection Project:  According to an article in the Clovis Independent, Fresno seeks eminent domain for land at Willow, Nees avenues, the City of Fresno has instituted eminent domain proceedings to acquire a pivotal piece of property necessary for the widening of a street intersection.   While the impacted owner is in favor of the project, he simply disagrees with the City's $253,000 offer of compensation.  Again, the owner's appraiser has valued the taking at $340,000.  The acquisition area involves the owner's fruit trees, lawn, driveway, and other amenities; however, the value dispute seems to hinge on what's known as the "highest and best use" of the property, as the owner believes the highest value may reflect a future commercial use.

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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