Just compensation in condemnation has long been held to require payment that is fair to both the property owner having its property seized and the public taking it. Two of the rules that have developed in this pursuit of fairness came face to face in a recent case, City of Perris v. Stamper, No. S213468, 2016 Cal. LEXIS 6749 (Cal. Aug. 15, 2016). In light of the court’s holding in Perris, property owners reviewing compensation offers may need to pay particular attention to the timing of land use plans and public project announcements applicable to their property.
In Perris, the City bisected Stamper’s vacant light-industrial zone property with a 1.66 acre acquisition to construct a road. The City offered Stamper $44,000 in compensation. Stamper demanded $1.3 million. The basis for this vast difference in valuation lay in the appraisal assumptions.
The City took the position that Stamper’s industrially zoned land should be valued as if it were agricultural. Given that developing his larger property with an industrial use would, in the City’s estimation, require as a condition of City approval that Stamper dedicate the property that the City was condemning to the City without compensation, the true value of the property was no more than its value in agricultural use. The City’s theory was consistent with the holding in another case, City of Porterville v. Young, 241 Cal. Rptr. 349 (Cal. Ct. App. 1987), that deemed the valuation approach appropriate so long as the dedication met the constitutional requirements of rough proportionality of the required dedication to the development’s impact and essential nexus of the required dedication to a valid public purpose.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Addresses Intersection of City Right-of-Way Dedication Requirements and Project Influence in Valuing Condemned Property