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Legal - Real Estate Law | Eminent Domain Law

Real Estate Attorney C. William Brewer, PC

1690 West Shaw Avenue, Suite 200
California 93711

Office: (559) 439-4000
Fax: (559) 439-5654


Hours of Operation
Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Friday: 8am - 5pm
Eminent Domain in Fresno

Real Estate Attorney

C. William Brewer, PC provides comprehensive professional services in representing Private Landowners, Farmers, Commercial and Industrial Businesses and Homeowners in every aspect of Real Estate proceedings.

Mr. Brewer has more than 36 years' experience in Real Estate & Eminent Domain Law, including the representation of several public agencies over a period of 11 years and exclusively representing Private Landowners, Farmers, Business (Commercial and Industrial) Owners and Homeowners for the past 25 years. He is passionate about protecting private property rights against the harm done to Landowners and Business Owners.

C. William Brewer, PC practices throughout California, with the majority of cases occurring in the productive agribusiness environs of the great Central Valley. This includes the Cities and Counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Mariposa and the cities of Fresno, Bakersfield, Clovis, Delano, Tulare, Hanford, Visalia, Reedley, Dinuba, Kingsburg, Selma, Fowler, Madera, Chowchilla, Los Banos, Merced, Modesto, Stockton, and others.


August 9, 2013 HSRA UPDATE

Precondemnation Offers are being delivered to land owners whose property is being taken or damaged by the California High Speed Rail Authority ("CHSRA").

Also Business Owners who are being forced to relocate are being pushed to respond to HSRA's demands for information.

HSRA is telling owners they must accept offer within 30 days - an unrealistically short time, or it will force them to sell by taking them to court.

Key lawsuit still in play: Kings County, Toss and Fagundes vs. CHSRA

? Bases:

? Violations of Prop 1A

? Attempts to amend Prop 1A violate constitution

? Prop 1A - is a Constitutional "Initiative" which can be amended only by another Initiative.

? Constitutional constraints on legislature and government [and CHSRA] have been violated.

How soon can HSRA take possession?

Occupied Property - no sooner than 120 days after service of Notice of Motion for Court Order authorizing HSRA to take possession; no sooner than 70 days if unoccupied.

Relocation Benefits Important

CAVEAT to Residential and Business Owners: get competent advice not only of the legal issues in the TAKING and DAMAGING of your residential property or your business assets, but be very vigilant regarding your relocation benefits. Relocation can be complicated but the benefits can be significant.

Major Environmental Issues Remain for Fresno to Bakersfield Sub-Segment

?Visual impacts of the project in general, stations, elevated track, glare.

?HST emissions, particularly dust and its effects on agriculture.

?Conversion of agricultural land to nonagricultural uses.

?Compliance with the Williamson Act.

?Impacts on farm operations.

?Impacts on low-income and minority communities.

?Impacts on community cohesion.

?Fiscal impacts on the state and local jurisdictions.

?Construction impacts.

?System safety with regard to derailments.

?Growth-inducing effects of new transportation system in the San Joaquin Valley.

?Water resource impacts.

?Harm to historic structures.

?Hazardous materials impacts

?Electromagnetic field impacts on humans and animals.

?Impacts on special-status species and their habitats.

?Noise impacts.

?Transportation impacts: crossings, blocked roads, blocked intersections, congestion if the HST is not implemented.

?Impacts on Amtrak.

?Global Warming effects if the HST is not implemented.

July-August 2013 -The High Speed Rail Authority is moving FAST with acquiring impacted properties and addressing businesses forced to relocate within the new train corridor from Madera Avenue 17 through Fresno. Formal pre-condemnation - the first official step in the Eminent Domain process ? are currently being delivered. 90-day notices are being served, advising some landowners and businesses that, e.g., they must be moved out no later than September 15, 2013. Owners of land and businesses must be vigilant and diligent to protect their rights to receive Compensation, Damages and Relocation Benefits. For assistance, call experienced Eminent Domain attorney Bill Brewer @ 559-439-4000.

California?s High-Speed Fail System Doubles in Cost ? NOVEMBER 2, 2011

www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore/281953/californias-high-speed-fail-system-doubles-cost-greg-pollowitz ?The authority?s projection of 117 million annual intercity passengers plus commuters is so far from reality that I have to call it what it is?science fiction,? Vranich wrote in his testimony. Most studies use population density to project ridership, but as a story in California Watch noted last month, ?if the measure is population density, Florida and Ohio would be fertile ground as well. Both of those states rejected billions in federal aid for bullet trains, fearing they just couldn?t make the projects pencil out.?

California?s High-Speed Train Wreck ? AUGUST 8, 2011

www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore/273932/californias-high-speed-train-wreck-greg-pollowitz Joseph Vranich, the author of ?Supertrains? and a 40-year advocate of high-speed rail, testified before a hearing of California?s State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. He said, ?This is the first time I am unable to endorse a high-speed rail plan? and that he found the California High Speed Rail Authority?s work to be ?the poorest I have ever seen.?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Eminent Domain?

Eminent Domain is a power given to Government or Quasi-Government Agencies to take or damage part or all of privately owned property. The power of Eminent Domain also may be used to force a Business, Tenant under a lease or Landowner to relocate. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects Landowners by requiring Government Agencies to pay "just compensation." If a Business or Property Owner or Occupant is forced to relocate, California Law requires payment for moving and relocation expenses.

Government Agencies may only take private property when it is for a "public use" that is deemed more important than the Private Owner's use.

Why do I need an Attorney?

It is important for Landowners and Business Owners to obtain an Attorney throughout the Eminent Domain Process, because Government Agencies force you to sell, unlike other Real Estate Sellers. Government is not looking out for the Private Property Owner's or Business Owner's best interests. Retaining a qualified and experienced Attorney would assure your property rights are protected, and that the full fair market value is paid. In addition, Businesses that suffer a loss of goodwill must be compensated for the loss.

It is also important that the Attorney retained by the Private Land or Business Owner have substantial experience and qualifications in Eminent Domain Law. This area of law contains "traps for the unwary" that an inexperienced or unqualified Attorney may miss to the client's prejudice.

What happens in an eminent domain case?

Government starts the process by identifying private property it believes will benefit the public's use more so than if the property remained privately. The Agency will send an Appraiser out to your property to provide an opinion as to a "fair" estimate of what your property is worth on the open market. The appraisal will form the basis for a "precondemnation offer" to the Owner. The Owner may get its own appraisal, for which the Agency must pay, up to $5,000. If an Owner, Business or Tenant on the property is forced to relocate, it is entitled to relocation expenses which include moving and other costs of relocating to a new site. A Business that suffers a loss of goodwill caused by the take must be compensated for that loss. The steps in that process are generally summarized as follows:

1. A public hearing is noticed wherein the Governing Body of the Agency (e.g. City Council or Board of Supervisors) will take testimony, consider other presented evidence and consider adopting a Resolution of Necessity to proceed with taking the subject property by Eminent Domain. The resolution must be supported by findings based on evidence in the record. The findings that must be made are specified by the California Eminent Domain Law and consistent with constitutional criteria.

2. Once the resolution is adopted, the Government Agency may file a Complaint in Superior Court to take the subject property by Eminent Domain. Summons and Complaint is then served on the Property Owner who must file a formal document known as an "Answer" or "Responsive Pleading" in court and deliver a copy to the Condemnor Agency.

3. Thereafter, valuation experts (Appraisers) are typically engaged by both sides to determine, in the Experts' Respective Opinion, what the Agency must pay for (a) the part taken and (b) any damage to the part that remains under Private Ownership. Other experts may also be appropriate, such as engineers and/or land-use planning experts.

4. The Federal and State Constitutions guarantee the right of the Private Property Owner to a trial by jury. If the Eminent Domain case proceeds to trial, the determination of what just compensation should be awarded to the Landowner is made by the jury. The Agency that is taking the property must pay that amount. What is the Difference between Eminent Domain and Condemnation? There is no substantive difference. Eminent Domain is another word for condemnation and vice versa. They both refer to Government's conditional power to take or damage private property.

"Inverse Condemnation" is like an Eminent Domain action except it is brought by a Property Owner or Business Owner against a Government Agency that is taking or damaging the private property without the constitutionally-required payment of just compensation.

Is there a way to stop the Government from taking my land via Eminent domain laws?

Yes. If you can prove that your land is not being taken for a ?public use? then the Agency may not take it. And there are other, similar reasons for blocking an Eminent Domain Action. An experienced Eminent Domain Attorney would have the legal knowledge to explain to you whether the government agency's action meets one of these exceptions.

C William Brewer | Eminent Domain Attorney | Fresno | Fresno | Madera | Central Valley
C William Brewer | Eminent Domain Attorney | Fresno | Fresno | Madera | Central Valley