Extraterritorial Condemnation

Unless authorized by statute, Section 1240.050 of the Eminent Domain Law precludes a local public entity from acquiring property by eminent domain outside its territorial limits.  An exception exists where such power is expressly granted by statute or necessarily implied as an incident of one of its other statutory powers. 

A number of statutes specifically authorize extraterritorial condemnation.  For example,

  • Public Resources Code 5301 et seq. allows a city to condemn property outside its boundaries for public parks or public boulevards if the land is “conveniently adjacent” to the corporate limits of the city.
  • Streets and Highways Code 1810 allows a city to condemn property outside its boundaries in the unincorporated area of the county where the city is located, if it is necessary to connect or widen the existing streets of the acquiring city, and if the county consents to the acquisition.
  • Section 1240.125 of the Eminent Domain Law allows local public entities to condemn property outside their territorial limits for water, gas or electric supply purposes or for airports, drainage or sewer property.
  • In the absence of a specific statute or implied power authorizing extraterritorial condemnations, an agency need not fret.  Section 1240.140(b) of the Eminent Domain Law allows two or more public agencies to enter into a written agreement for the joint exercise of their respective powers of eminent domain, whether or not possessed in common, for the acquisition of property. 

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