Centrally located in Walnut Creek, California, I represent clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California including Marin County, Sonoma, Napa, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano Counties and beyond.

What are the bounds for eminent domain?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2022 | Regulatory Enforcement

It can be overwhelming to comprehend when you receive notice that a government agency wants possession or control over your land. Your land represents a significant investment of time and money that is difficult or impossible to replace.

Although your first instinct may be to concede and move on, there are times when government agencies will attempt to step outside the rules of eminent domain.

Here’s what you should know about when the government can (and cannot) take your land in California.

Can: Take lands for public use

When a governing body wants to take private land, there need must meet the following criteria:

  • There must be a public necessity
  • The use must be compatible with the greatest public good and least private injury
  • The property must be included in a declaration that states its necessity for the proposed use

While there may be other circumstances when the entity is interested in acquiring private property, it typically will not fit within the rules for an eminent domain acquisition if it does not meet these conditions.

Cannot: Take for private use

The line between public and private can seem clear until state or city leaders are involved. This is, typically, when there is a greater chance of government overreach. Often, a governing body will start considering what is best for its area. It gets easier to blur the line when they see a community use for private land that does not fall within the rules.

For example, a large private business could support the region’s economy and offer jobs for community members. Still, it would not fit within the guidelines for acquisition via eminent domain.

In some cases, the lines can become more challenging when private companies offer utilities or other public needs. When you are facing notification of a potential taking, it is essential to seek support from a skilled professional.