This month, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has pushed forward on building the first stretches of the high-speed rail. Construction has begun on a bridge in downtown Fresno and more properties in the San Joaquin Valley are falling into the crosshairs of the CHSRA.
Five resolutions declaring the need to use eminent domain to acquire about 27 acres in Fresno, Madera and King Counties have been adopted by the State Public Works Board, which acts on behalf of the rail agency. More than 1,160 acres, from 305 resolutions in Fresno, King, Madera and Tulare counties, have been targeted by the Public Works Board since December 2013.
The State Public Works Board was established to oversee the fiscal matters with construction projects and to acquire real property for the state’s facilities and programs, such as the high-speed rail project.
Eminent domain is the legal process that allows government agencies to acquire private property for public use as long as just compensation is given. Eminent domain is pursued when the agencies and property owners cannot agree on a fair price.
The land that has been identified in the resolution are properties that CHSRA says are needed for the right of way and supporting structures such as underpasses and bridges. Some of the parcels in the resolution are full parcels of land, while others are only partial pieces.
One piece in the latest resolution, an 8-acre section of a larger 47-acre property along the BNSF Railway tracks west of Kingsburg, is proposed as a radio communications center for the high-speed rail project and later for the actual rail line between Kamm and Conejo
The smallest section is three-quarters of an acre from a larger 14-acre parcel of farmland. The parcel is about a mile farther south, on the east side of the BNSF tracks at Clarkson Avenue. It is needed by the rail authority for the realignment of Clarkson.
Downtown Fresno had more properties condemned in the resolution as the former Lamoure’s Cleaners building on G Street is being acquired by the Public Works Board.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has been behind schedule for acquiring the property they say they need for construction. The right of way acquisition has been one of the major factors for the slow progress on its first 29-mile construction segment in Fresno and Madera counties.
As of Nov. 20, the rail authority reported that of the 711 parcels needed in the first section, only 376 have been delivered to its contractors. Major construction has begun in Madera and Fresno counties recently. Several sites in downtown Fresno are active construction sites and are expected to become more active in the next couple of months.
We will be continuing to follow the progress of the project on our website at www.eminentdomainlaw.net. If you are an affected property or business owner, you can learn more about your options by giving us a call at (866) EM-DOMAIN.