New Caltrans/Metro project could take property in the Antelope Valley and West San Bernardino County

The project is called the High Desert Corridor, and it would be funded through sales taxes, if approved by California voters. If the project moves forward, it will include:

  • A 63-mile freeway between Palmdale and Apple Valley
  • A 36-mile bike path between Palmdale and U.S. 395
  • A right-of-way to open up the possibility of high speed rail between Victorville and Las Vegas

What this could mean for property owners in the project’s path

If you own a home, business or farm in the path of the proposed project, you may risk losing it to eminent domain. Eminent domain is a process by which the state takes your property in order to use it for the public good. Caltrans and Metro property may temporarily or permanently acquire property in order to:

  • Expand transportation capacity via new roads, rail, maintenance yards, stations and more (permanent acquisition)
  • Build and use construction staging (temporary acquisition)
  • Tunnel below ground to build stations, tunnels, etc. (permanent acquisition of below ground easements)

Here are some questions you may have:

When will I find out if the government will take my property?

During studies into the feasibility of a project, the government will sometimes contact property owners to let them know their property is under consideration. In most other cases, you will find out once the project is approved and funding becomes available.

What will the government pay me?

If the government takes your property, it must pay you just compensation. The government will appraise your property, but you can (and should) obtain your own appraisal as well. Typically, the government’s first offer is less than you can get from it. If the government acquires your property through eminent domain, it must offer you the highest value you would get for it on the open market.

Can I stop it?

The best way to stop eminent domain is to speak up against the project. The High Desert Corridor is not yet on the ballot, and if it gets there, it needs to pass before the funding becomes available.

Raise your concerns about the project directly to Caltrans and Metro, through social media, through your congressperson and via other means. If the project is funded and your property is in its path, it will be hard to stop the government from acquiring your property. At that point, an attorney is the best person to help you understand your options.

Posted: 05/31/16 Joseph Dzida

Categories: CRD Attorneys