Omnitrans and SANBAG’s sbX Project Interruptions to Business-Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation
April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Here is a link to the Spring 2011 newsletter of the sbX project. The sbX project is a bus rapid transit project that will start on Palm Avenue in San Bernardino (Verdemont) and link (roughly) California State University San Bernardino with Loma Linda University Medical Center, along Kendall Drive, E Street through downtown San Bernardino, to Hospitality Lane and down Tippecanoe/Anderson Street in Loma Linda. The sBX project will have a major impact on local business along the corridor, especially places where the project will take up the center median. What that means to businesses is that some patrons will not be able to make mid-block left turns. Also, there will be business interruptions due to construction of the sbX project.
The sbX project will require the condemnation of land. San Bernardino Associated Governments, also known as SANBAG, acting as the San Bernardino County Transportation Commission, will acquire the property for Omnitrans. SANBAG retained a law firm (with a sole-source purchase order of $40,000) to assist in acquiring right-of-way for the project. A Resolution of Necessity, one of the first steps under California law for condemning land using the eminent domain process, was put before SANBAG’s Board on February 2, 2011. According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise in an article entitled “SANBAG board balks at condemnation plan for transit project” by Dug Begley, dated February 2, 2011, and presumably in the February 3, 2011 print edition, the resolution failed to get the required two-thirds majority of the Board (garnering only 15 out of 29 votes necessary). The list of proposed properties on the failed Resolution of Necessity included 72 parcels, mostly on Hospitality Lane. Even without the Resolution and the condemnation action, SANBAG is still negotiating with the property owners. The March 2, 2011 SANBAG agenda and back up also had a Resolution of Necessity for the board’s consideration. The Resolution was passed. There are 58 cases filed by SANBAG in San Bernardino Superior Court since March 9, 2011 including motion dates for Prejudgment Rights of Possession.
Condemning agencies often low-ball property owners, particularly in the pre-condemnation process. If a property owner or a business owner is approached by SANBAG’s negotiators, they should consult a knowledgeable eminent domain attorney. If the proposed sbX project impacts a business or real property, and SANBAG does not want to compensate the business owner or real property, the business owner or real property owner should contact a knowledgeable inverse condemnation attorney. Inverse condemnation is a legal action filed when the government, like SANBAG and Omnitrans, take real property without providing compensation to the owners.
The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
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