Normally, a public agency must make an offer to the owner based on an appraisal prior to initiating negotiations for the acquisition of real property and prior to adopting a resolution of necessity.
Often overlooked, however, is that the precondemnation offer is not required when an easement is being acquired for “the construction, reconstruction, alteration, enlargement, maintenance, renewal, repair, or replacement of subsurface sewers, waterlines or appurtenances, drains, septic tanks, or stormwater drains.” See Gov. Code § 7267.
That said, the public agency remains obligated to “make every reasonable effort to acquire expeditiously real property by negotiation.” See Gov. Code § 7267.1(a). This may prove difficult for both parties without the owner’s benefit of having received an offer from the condemning agency. I would enjoy hearing from practitioners as to how they have dealt with this apparent conundrum.