By A.J. Hazarabedian

Newport Beach city council members voted to adopt a resolution of necessity this week to acquire a portion of Back Bay Court Property Co.’s property on Jamboree Road.

According to the Orange County Register article, “City OKs using eminent domain on mini-mall,” the sliver of land is needed for the Jamboree Road Bridge widening over State Route 73 project.  The property is located at 3601 Jamboree Road, which is a mini-mall right off the 73 freeway.

The article states, “Newport Beach offered $452,000 for the property along Jamboree Road at the 73 freeway, a figure that also includes compensation for temporary use of additional land during construction.”

The property owner said “a fair price hasn’t yet been established but that the city’s offer is insufficient.”  The article also mentions that the attorney for the property owner claims “the widening would result in removal of shopping center signs and construction of a retaining wall, resulting in ‘significantly less visibility’ for retail tenants.”

As we discuss in our “California Eminent Domain Handbook,” often times the government only needs a portion of a particular property, much like this situation in Newport Beach.  In these cases, just compensation is determined not only by the value of the part taken, but also by the damage to the remaining property.  Such damages are called “severance damages,” i.e., damages caused by severance of the remainder from the part taken.  Severance damages is one of those areas which is highly specific to eminent domain cases.  As such, it is imperative that only an appraiser experienced in eminent domain be retained to evaluate these damages.  Experienced eminent domain counsel, such as California Eminent Domain Law Group, can and do recommend to their clients such appraisers with whom the attorneys work on a regular basis.