An investigation in 2006 by The Orange County Register found that the California Department of Transportation repeatedly took land it didn't need by invoking eminent domain. According to the investigation, "Highway Robbery," time and time again Caltrans displaced private property owners for highway projects that ultimately went nowhere; from a failed freeway loop close to the San Francisco Bay in Hayward to the widening of the Pacific Coast Highway through Orange County, which was eventually abandoned. Using eminent domain, along the way Caltrans purchased thousands of businesses and homes it did not need, and held on to these properties for decades. Consequently, it became a landlord to workers and residents in over 1,300 businesses and homes, which is a job the government agency is not meant to handle.
In June of this year, The Los Angeles Times reported that these large land holdings were overlooked and neglected, which resulted in the agency having to spend enormous sums of money, several times the normal market rate, to repair and renovate many of these rundown buildings. A recent op-ed in the Register concluded that if the properties had remained in private hands, or if they had been sold once the agency realized they did not need them, these costly renovations made by the government agency would not have been necessary.
At the Peterson Law Group, we understand that it can be intimidating for a property owner to be facing the prospect of their property being acquired for a public project by eminent domain. Our Los Angeles eminent domain lawyers are available to discuss your situation and can help you assess the merits of your case. Call 213-236-9720.