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The history of eminent domain in the Sacramento area

In light of the Sacramento City Council recently voting to acquire property from six landowners, here are other instances of eminent domain usage in Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Last month, Sacramento City Council members voted to acquire land from six property owners in the Pocket-Greenhaven neighborhood through eminent domain to complete the Sacramento River Parkway Project. 

This isn't the first time city official have had to use eminent domain to acquire land. Here are a few recent examples of how the city was able to use eminent domain.

Golden 1 Center 

Before the development of Golden 1 Center could begin, city officials filed an eminent domain suit against the owners of the former Macy's Store where the arena now resides.

At the time, two investor groups called C-III and CalPERS both controlled the former Macy's men store property. The Sacramento Kings, in the end, paid C-III $7 million and $5 million to CalPERS. 

The Kings could not get there without settling a disagreement of how much the property was worth with both C-III and CALPERS.  

C-III's appraiser valued the property to be for $21.75 million while CalPERS valued its share to be worth $12.85 million. Sacramento valued the property to be $6.3 million.   

Rancho Cordova Community College

The Los Rios Community College District originally planned to build a community college in Rancho Cordova, however, those plans fell apart.

The district initially made an offer to purchase a plot of land for $8.6 million, but backed out of the deal because city officials in Rancho Cordova filed an eminent domain suit to seize the land. The city planned planned to then turn it over to the Los Rios Community College District for half the amount of the first deal.

However, controversy started brewing when the land owner argued the city was colluding with the school district against the property owner since the owner already was in talks with Los Rio Community College District.

Rancho Cordova had to back out of the deal and abandon the project, yet was on the hook for the property owner's legal fees. 

Conway Ranch

Yolo County attempted to acquire the 17,300 acre Conway Ranch so that it could maintain the land and preserve the water. 

However, farmers expressed concern the new owners would use the property for housing and sell the water to Los Angeles, or other places where water is scarce. The county won a court decision where it was able to purchase the property, but later rulings valued the land to be more than initially priced.

The county dropped its bid after concessions made that the farmers can only sell the land at 250 acres at a time or give the county the first right to negotiate a deal first. Farmers were allowed to sell its water outside of the county unless if the farmers paid 7.5 percent more than the purchase price. 

Unlike the Rancho Cordova example, where the city had to pay the property owner, the landowners had to pay for the county's $2.4 million legal fees. 

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