By A.J. Hazarabedian

Building a new courthouse in the city of Redding will come at a cost to neighboring property owners. reports that the Redding Redevelopment Agency is considering the use of eminent domain to acquire three parcels to make room for the new Shasta Courthouse.  City documents describe the current court buildings as “overcrowded,” having “severe security problems” and “many physical deficiencies.”

The three parcels are owned by two property owners – neither of which has reached an agreement with the city.  According to the news article “Redding Considering Eminent Domain for Land Downtown,” one of the property owners has been offered $700,000 for her property, which she did not accept.  As explained in our California Eminent Domain Handbook, a property owner is not required to accept the condemning agency’s offer.  Rather, the property owner may make a counter-offer, or may assert a higher value for his or her property once an eminent domain action is filed in court.  In fact, property owners, tenants and business owners often receive higher, and in some cases, much higher compensation than the amount of the condemning agency’s offer by asserting a claim for greater compensation in the eminent domain proceeding.  This is, of course, not always the case and an experienced eminent domain attorney should be contacted to evaluate each case on its own merits.

In Redding, the article indicates that the city will begin eminent domain proceedings if an agreement between the city and the property owners cannot be reached.