The Constitution allows the government to "take" private property if it is needed in order to complete certain types of public projects. They do so through formal condemnation proceedings. Projects that can result in this type of action are widening of public roads/freeways, the building of public transportation systems, etc. This "right to take" is established by the 5th Amendment and Article 1, Section 19 of the California Constitution. The official term for this type of action on the part of a government agency is eminent domain.
The government cannot simply take whatever property they desire. The process requires that the government agency meets certain requirements prior to exercising this power. For instance, they must show that the property is actually necessary for the public project to be completed. More importantly (for owners who do not wish for their property to become a part of the proposed public project) the Government's "right to take" does not prevent property owners from challenging the process.
How Can Property Owners Fight the Government's "Right to Take" through Eminent Domain Powers?
Property owners who wish to stop a government agency from exercising eminent domain on their property can attempt to prove that the agency involved did not meet the necessary requirements to start the process. Doing so is possible, but taking on this type of project is intimidating for individuals and can be costly if you don't know exactly what you're doing. That's why it's so important for southern California property owners who are considering fighting eminent domain procedures to contact an experienced real estate and eminent domain attorney in their area.
There are a number of potential benefits that can come from challenging the government agency exercising eminent domain procedures against your property. It could delay the project long enough to prevent it from happening altogether. In some cases, simply putting up resistance is enough to stop it entirely because the public project is on a strict timeline. The delay could also inspire the agency to offer higher compensation in order to keep to the original schedule. And in some cases, the government may not meet the requirements, eminent domain will not be permissible and the project will simply be cancelled.
Challenging the right to take isn't the answer for every southern California property owner, but if you are interested in finding out if it could benefit you, get in touch with one of the experienced real estate and eminent domain attorneys at The Law Office of Retz & Aldover LLP today. We can make sure you have the information you need to make an informed decision.