The City of Hayward Ready for an Eminent Domain Battle, Among Others...

by Nossaman LLP
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In July, the City of Hayward passed several resolutions of necessity to acquire property for its Interstate 880 / State Route 92 Reliever Route Project.  The Project will extend Whitesell Street to provide access to State Route 92 from Winton Avenue, which is more of an industrial area.  While it sounds straight-forward, there appears to be some complex acquisitions.  Last week, the San Jose Mercury News provided some insight to the complicated project.

The city prides itself on never having filed an eminent domain action for its public project and here, the city is only seeking to acquire property from 6 parcels using eminent domain.   But the City faces stiff opposition from local business owners, including a salvage yard and an outdoor storage lot, whose properties will be bisected by the new road. 

In particular, the salvage yard has a pile of grievances with the City.  First, the property upon which they operate was annexed to Hayward in 2008, so the business now has to obtain a conditional use permit from the City of Hayward and comply with strict zoning laws and standards, which will require changes and upgrades to the property and business which they cannot afford.  Second, the owners contend that they will be unable operate on their property with the project running through the middle.  Third, even though the City has said it will help them relocate, they don't have the money to purchase another property to move to and they would be hard-pressed to find a landowner willing to lease to a salvage yard.  Last, they don't think they are receiving adequate relocation assistance from the City.  The last two contentions are shared with other business owners.  Another shared complaint is that the compensation being offered by the City is inadequate, basing its offers on 2011 comparable sales, and it is unwilling to reveal a more recent updated appraisal. 

As of July, four of the businesses had hired an attorney and they plan to fight the City on the acquisitions, arguing that the City has not provided them any reasonable alternatives.  While the City is still negotiating with the business and property owners to avoid filing eminent domain actions, the City's road forward is anything but smooth.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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