Eminent domain possible to build a jail

Communities throughout California are comprised of a variety of land uses and property types, including retail stores, commercial businesses, industrial facilities, and residential communities. In addition to these types of properties, there is also the need for properties to accomodate law enforcement and the California criminal system, which can take form as State prisons or local jails. In some cases, the use of eminent domain is required in order to acquire properties for such uses.  Most often these types of structures are located away from population centers.

In 2011, one community authorized the construction of a new jail facility, and negotiations for the 26.9-acre piece of property began. The county's governing body has offered just over $580,000 for the property. The property owner is asking in excess of $1 million.  Regardless of the public purpose for which property is acquired for eminent domain, a property owner is entitled to determine the property's highest and best use in valuation, which is supported by zoning, development trends, and other factors.

A hearing regarding the property and the possible use of eminent domain in its acquisition has been scheduled. This hearing will provide an opportunity for residents to review the proposed public use of the property and become better informed regarding its effect on the community. It does appear that there is some concern regarding the current zoning of the property in question and whether this zoning must be taken into consideration.

There are times when it is necessary for property to be acquired through eminent domain. In order for this to occur, the property in question must meet eminent domain requirements, including public use. California property owners who may be affected by eminent domain may find it beneficial to seek guidance from legal counsel experienced in these proceedings.

Source:, "Legislature sets public hearing on use of eminent domain", Stephanie Sorrell-White, Sept. 15, 2017

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