Like all coastal beaches in California, picturesque Martins Beach is public. That is because California's Coastal Act holds that all of California's coasts are a public resource.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has been pursuing the possibility of taking a downtown city block through eminent domain in order to replace its current, rented, headquarters.
At a recent city council meeting in Palo Alto, residents learned that all 10 of the alternatives for a major rail redesign could potentially involve properties being taken by eminent domain. More than two dozen people addressed the council, many of them concerned that the project could result in their properties being taken by the city. Others expressed concerns that the project will worsen traffic conditions for nearby properties.
We often discuss eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions on this blog, but there is another way the government might take private party. Regularly taking is distinct from these other actions, but ultimately, it has the same results as an eminent domain action.
Learning that the government is seizing your property with an eminent domain action can be devastating. People in this situation often feel angry and powerless to do anything about the situation.
The prospect of losing your home or property to the government through eminent domain actions can be quite upsetting and stressful.
Many posts on this blog discuss situations in which home and business owners lose their property to eminent domain claims from the government or a private entity. However, there are also situations in which the government can access or use private property without actually acquiring it.
Traffic is one of the biggest headaches people in southern California deal with on a daily basis. Sitting in the car for hours can make any person think, "Why can't they just fix this congestion problem?"
When government takes property through eminent domain, it does so because it needs the land for a public use or project. Public use is not always as clear as the word suggests, and there are cases when the intended use does not seem to others to be "public."
The U.S. and California Constitutions protect landowners when their property is taken by requiring payment of just compensation. However, "just" in the eyes of property owners is often hard to define. Property can be held by generations of families over many years, and businesses can be in similar situations. Requiring a business to relocate and taking property can evoke strong feelings from landowners, even though the government has the right to do so. Eminent domain disputes may be contentious and landowners sometimes look at other factors, such as the value to them as opposed to the fair market value.