October 2017 Archives
Americans in California and across the country are entitled to certain protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, among other laws. Under the "Takings Clause" of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and its California counterpart under Article I section 19(a) of the California Constitution, the government may "take," or initiate a forced sale of private property to the government for a public purpose or use, as long as the government pays the landowner "just compensation." The process in which this occurs is referred to as eminent domain, which is complex, multi-layered, and often intimidating to landowners and business owners facing this powerful aspect of government rights.
The High Speed Rail Authority conitnues to move forward with its plans to construct and implement California's first bullet train, with service from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, and ultimately to Orange County and San Diego County. Acquisitions have been underway for years in the Central Valley. Peterson Law Group currently represents the owner of a 79 acre almond farm, whose property is being severed in half for the high speed train.
Eminent domain laws give the State and its subentities, Cities, Counties, Water Districts, Flood Control Districts, Public Works Departments, and other local municipalities the right to force a property owner to sell the government their property for a public use or project. Prior to intitiating this power, the government entity must approach the property owner and appraise the property it intends to acquire. The law requires the government to make a "prelitigation offer" prior to intiating the condemnation proceeding in Superior Court.