Napa City Council authorizes eminent domain

Traffic flow and congestion continues to be an important consideration to local and state planning, development, and infrastructure analysis in California. Local authorities and state agencies study traffic patterns and vehicle counts over several years, and then draft scenarios in which traffic flow and congestion can be improved. Often, these scenarios support infrastructure enhancement or expansion, which is carried out through public projects across the state to improve major street intersections, freeways, overpasses, railroads, public transportation boarding stations, and the like. Existing infrastructure is often surrounded by development, and so eminent domain proceedings are required in order to acquire the additional land needed to expand an existing improvement or develop and build a new infrastructure improvement.

According to public record, eminent domain may be coming to wine country. To account for recent jumps in traffic and congestion, the Napa City Council recently authorized the use of eminent domain in order to improve traffic flow moving from the freeway into downtown Napa. According to public record, a total of eight properties may be affected. Similar projects have been carried out in Bakersfield, Fresno, the Port of Los Angeles, and Riverside to account for growing travel and population in the last decade.

The plan being proposed includes the creation of three roundabouts to assist with traffic flow. Rather than stopping at lights and stop signs, traffic will now be able to continue in a slow and steady motion. The City Council believes that this will ease the congestion problem in the area.

The city has begun the process of negotiating with land owners and making offers for the required property. While the California land owners to date have not filed an objection to the plan, they have expressed concern that the construction of the proposed roundabouts not adversely impact their businesses. In a situation such as this one, each property owner will want to review the construction proposal in addition to the offer the city presents to them for the required property. Legal counsel experienced in the eminent domain process can prove invaluable in analyzing the situation and providing guidance regarding the best way to proceed.

Source:, "Napa council authorizes eminent domain for roundabouts near Highway 29/First Street", Howard Yune, Sept. 9, 2017

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