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March 2018 Archives

California wildfires: what is the cause?

In previous posts, we discussed the impact that wildfires and resulting rains and mudslides have had on homeowners and property owners across California; particularly in the Montecito area near Santa Barbara. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been destroyed, and people have lost their lives and their homes.

What is 'public use'?

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."

A look at just compensation

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.