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Water at center of eminent domain concern

Water is an important resource for California communities. It is essential to the quality of life for residents and an integral part of many planning decisions. Over the years, water has played an important role in the development and growth of different communities. Now, this role is being considered as part of an eminent domain proceeding involving two California communities.

Apparently, in the early 1900s, representatives for the city of Los Angeles posing as farmers or ranchers purchased a considerable portion of land along the Owens Valley. Then, as Los Angeles continued to grow, the city began draining water from Owens Valley by means of an aqueduct. It appears that in its efforts to provide water for a growing Los Angeles, the city also created both economic and environmental concerns for Owens Valley.

Now, in an effort to reclaim and restore valuable resources, Inyo County, home to Owens Valley, has begun eminent domain proceedings. One appraisal for the 200 acres involved has indicated a fair market value of approximately $522,000. This amount was offered for the property in questions; however, the offer was declined, and Los Angeles is seeking its own appraisal of the property.

Years ago, one California community sought to provide resources for its development at the apparent expense of another. This action has now resulted in the need for the affected community to initiate eminent domain proceedings in an effort to provide needed resources for its residents. Anytime that such action is taken, individuals and businesses alike are affected. Like many other eminent domain issues, this one will likely play out in law offices and courtrooms throughout the involved areas.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "California County Uses Eminent Domain in Water Fight With LA," July 13, 2017

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