The Pasadena Star-News reports that eminent domain may be used by the Gold Line Construction Authority to buy property in Monrovia for a rail yard to prevent the project from being severely delayed.
According to the article, the city and Gold Line officials believed they had an agreement for 13.8 acres of land to be used for a maintenance yard. However, officials for Construction Authority have since backed away from the deal due to settlement discussions with the property's private owner, who is suing them and the city over the 4.5 acres owned that is wanted for the maintenance yard. Initially, the lawsuit was filed against the Authority on the basis that the environmental analysis conducted was not sufficient. Then, a petition was filed against the city that cited an agreement made in 2004 in which the city agreed not to invoke eminent domain against the property.
The Authority had hoped to avoid using eminent domain, and stated the property was pursued as well as negotiations with Monrovia with the understanding that the property and other private properties were available and litigation would not be encountered. Now they are asking for the city to share in the expenses to settle the lawsuit with the private property owner. If an agreement is not met, the property may be condemned.
Making matters difficult is that certain procurements for the project expire at the end of October, and if Gold Line does not have 50 percent of the land for the project by then, the procurements will be lost. If that occurs, a new site would need be found for the project, as well as new procurements, in addition to a new environmental impact report. It would delay the project's completion date from 2015 to 2017 and cost upwards of $150 million, essentially ending the project.
As a result, a hearing of necessity will be held on July 5. It is the first step to condemn the property using eminent domain. Then, the Authority will conclude whether or not to proceed with eminent domain for the property.
If you or your business is facing an eminent domain dispute in California, contact the Los Angeles eminent domain lawyers at The Peterson Law Group. We can help you find a creative and effective solution to your problem. Call 213-236-9720.