Practice Areas »

Orange County Eminent Domain

Posted on February 20 2015 by Gabriela Ocampo

Orange County has gained a certain notoriety over the years for eminent domain abuse. The worst of this abuse occurred during the days of municipal redevelopment agencies (RDAs), which so outrageously overstepped the legitimate bounds of eminent domain as to get themselves officially abolished in 2011. Now, however, a new bill on California Governor Jerry Brown's desk would allow residual RDA funds to be used for new projects, which presumably would involve land seizures no different than those that were common when RDAs were legal five years ago.

Suspiciously, cities across the state have used tax-payer funds to work towards reinstating redevelopment agencies. In Orange County, for example, the city of Garden Grove "donated" $50,000 to support the research and drafting stages of an initiative to re-legalize RDAs in the state of California. When RDAs were in place, back in 2006, Garden Grove invoked eminent domain for the sake of building a 160-acre theme park. Thus, a return to the RDA agenda would spell disaster for property owners in Garden Grove, Orange County, and all across the state of California.

There have been legitimate and properly-executed instances of eminent domain being exercised as well, of course. Take the 2010 temporary construction easement on part of a Huntington Beach parking lot, for example. The Orange County Register reported that the county offered $96,500 to take the land for the purpose of installing a needful drainage pipe. However, many extreme abuses also exist. Take the 500 homes seized to install I-710 between Pasadena and Monterey Park. The road was never built, and after 50 years, in 2013, Caltrans was given the go-ahead to re-sell the properties. We only hope the original property owners are given the profits if the selling price exceeds the purchase price on any of the homes in question. The most recent threat looming, however, is the massive eminent domain monster that has been created by the high speed rail project. Already, 160 parcels of land have been condemned, and many more are soon to follow.

Those who are facing the force of government agencies that are attempting to seize or condemn their property are fighting an uphill battle if they go it alone. The laws on eminent domain and the customary courtroom proceedings involved with eminent domain cases are complex beyond the knowledge of the average Orange County resident. Obtaining the services of a professional attorney who specializes in this area of law is essential. One of the best law firms dedicated to defending the rights of property owners in Orange County is Century Law Group. Their skills at negotiating a fair selling price or at preventing a government take-over of personal or business property are well-honed by years of valuable experience. They are so feared, in fact, by government agencies engaged in abuses of eminent domain that Century Law Group obtains a fair settlement before ever entering the court room nine times out of 10.

When you face a "Goliath" like Caltrans, Metro, Orange County, or municipal agencies, you do well to have a team of experts on your side. Century Law Group not only has an impressive success rate, but they also serve property owners exclusively. That is, they never take the side of a condemning agency. Their commitment to fighting for the maximum compensation possible for government-taken properties and to halting seizures done for unjust purposes is undying and intense. They have acquired the skills necessary to overcome wrongful seizures, unjust easements, and low-ball offers. In light of the frequent attempts by many government agencies to abuse eminent domain, Century's services are truly invaluable.