Don’t Forget The Consistency Finding!

An often overlooked pre-condemnation requirement is that the project be reviewed for consistency with the general plan.  California Government Code section 65402 requires that a city, county or local agency may not acquire real property until the location, purpose, and extent of such acquisition have been submitted to and reported upon by the “planning agency”…

Using An Unavoidable Dilemma To Your Advantage

Consistent with my Practice Tip to Avoid the Potential for Precondemnation Damages (November 14, 2017), I always recommended that public agencies proceed with the precondemnation process in a noncommittal and conditional manner.  This is because evidence showing that the agency has pre-committed to the acquisition can be used to challenge the agency’s otherwise lawful adoption…

Substitute Acquisitions to Provide Access

The Eminent Domain Law allows for the condemnation of property to replace property being taken from a private owner with other, substitute property.  These acquisitions are referred to as “substitute takings.” One common situation occurs where a property acquisition and project cuts off another property owner’s access to utility service or public roads.  Section 1240.350(a)…

How to Approach Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees–including escrow and title fees–associated with the purchase of real property that are paid at the close of escrow.  In typical arms-length transactions, both sellers and buyers are responsible for paying some amount of the closing costs.  As discussed below, special treatment should be given to closing costs in an eminent domain…

Admissions of Value in Cost Studies and Budget Reports

During the precondemnation process, public agency staff may be asked to make written estimates of the value of properties that are needed for an upcoming project.  Similarly, a budget for a proposed project may call for such estimates.  Often these estimates are well above market value because they include acquisition costs as well as unrelated…