Eminent domain in California is a means by which the government takes over property. Despite its necessity in some cases, eminent domain often comes with opposition. A case in Monterey highlights how this process works.
The eminent domain case in Monterey
Monterey residents had expressed frustration with Cal Am Water, citing concerns about price gouging and poor management. In 2018, Measure J, which involved a feasibility study and action to take over Cal Am Water, passed with 56% of the vote.
Monterey Peninsula Water Management, the district that manages water for the region, took over ownership. Residents hoped the water district takeover would mean better service and prices.
Cal Am Water, however, argued against the takeover. The company exercised its right to defend itself against the takeover.
What happens in eminent domain?
California and federal law permit the government to take over private property, with fair compensation to the property’s owner, for reasons like adding to a school property or roadway expansion.
Condemnation is another term used for eminent domain. However, unlike condemnation that occurs because a property is unsafe, condemnation synonymous with eminent domain may occur regardless of the property’s condition.
When an entity uses eminent domain to take a property, you must receive notification first. Although you may receive the compensation offer right away, sometimes the government makes the proposal later in the process.
Do you have a say over the price?
State and federal law require the owner to receive reasonable, fair market compensation. However, government entities often try to pay as little as possible, which makes negotiation all the more important.
Eminent domain is often something property owners find worrying. However, understanding your rights will make this process easier to navigate.