Sac County - asking for easement for bus stop

10 Replies

Hey guys, wanted to throw this up here to see if anyone's faced this before and has any advice dealing with the city. 

We own a 4-plex in an up and coming neighborhood in Sacramento, CA and the city is doing a revitalization project where they're adding bike lanes, minor landscaping and a new bus route.  This is great for the city - however, we were approached by the city asking to purchase some of our land for one of the bus stops.  It's only 8 sq ft (with 547 sq ft as a potential temporary construction easement).  I've asked for potential drawings of what the bus stop will look like (if it will just be a post or if there will be a bench, etc).  The city is offering $750 for the land and they've told us they can call on eminent domain if we don't sign.  

The pros are:

- Revitalization is great for the city. 

- A new bus stop would be convenient for our tenants

Cons are:

- It looks like construction (and use of 550 sq ft) could be a little as 2 weeks to as long as 7 months.

- Bus stops bring people congregating in front of our units. 

- Aesthetically, it can impact the curb appeal. 

- Loss of land (for $750?)

I'm asking for photos of the proposed bus stop as well as times that the lines would be running. 

Is there anything else we should keep in mind  / ask about and do we even have a choice here?

Thanks!

you really have no option, just take the money or they will just take it anyway and give you nothing.

For the city it's real simple: You say yes, they pay you $750 and build themselves a bus stop. You say any other answer that isn't yes, they pay nothing and build themselves a bus stop.

How do you think the farmers in the Central Valley felt that said no to high speed rail?  Eminent Domain has been around forever and it is for the good of the whole... unfortunately thats the risk when buying along large public streets.  Best to take the money.   Your only hope in a fight is to dispute the "current market value" of the 8 sqft but more than likely not worth the costs involved.  In fact, your tenants might even possibly benefit by having a closer stop.

@Kristine Libby - I don't think you have any good options here.  The valuation is not worth fighting about.  You could stall to see if the offer goes up, but they have lawyers on the payroll, I'm guessing you do not.

I would counter with $1500 , a reduction in your property taxes , and rent for when they do the construction .  ...................All they can do is say yes , or no .  

Ask them what happens to any damage to the property (ie landscaping) during construction of the bus stop.  If they want 550 sq ft to work on, there is no way it is a simple post.  You will have more traffic on your front door plus more garbage.  

Will it interfere with the tenant's parking space or reduce the amount of parking you have (If parking is out front of your units)?

Hopefully your front yard is big enough and it is off to the side and won't interfere with access to the driveway both during construction and once the bus stop is operational.  I lived in a house once that had a bus stop out front.  You got used to the sounds of the air brakes and it was far enough to one side of the yard, the front yard was huge and really wide, and the view from the house partially obscured blocked by landscaping.

The city can just take the land be eminent domain, so why not try to get a little better terms and make sure your concerns are met during construction?  The bus stop will likely be an added bonus for new tenants at your property that may have difficulty walking to other stops further away as well.

As said above they can take it anyway.   Although if they take it they have to pay you regardless of either your agree or not.  But to do eminent domain is a whole court process that is expensive and time consuming.   They would most likely just go t your neighbor and see if they would do it first.

Given it is a multifamily, the bus stop is a bonus for your tenets anyway.  AI would counter with a higher number knowing that they would rather pay than go to court for such a small amount.  Then sign it and smile when the 5pm news comes by to do a story on the revitalization.   You can add how you are fixing up the property to provide affordable housing.   

Contrary to what several of the previous posts say, the City cannot "just take it".  Yes, they can force the issue via eminent domain, but they will still have to compensate you.  It is highly likely that they will have SOME room for negotiation because they are interested in avoiding delays that are caused by the eminent domain process.  

What will be important for you to understand is the temporary easement.  Are there buildings, trees, landscaping that will be destroyed and cannot be restored to original condition by the City?  If so, they owe you additional compensation for that as well.

That said, unless there is something funky going on with the temporary easement, its probably not worth engaging a lawyer for just a very small amount - however, the way legal representation often works for eminent domain cases (at least in our neck of the woods), is that lawyers are willing to take the case for a "%-age of the increase".  So, in your example, they would represent you free of charge initially, and then collect, say 33% of anything you get awarded in excess of the original offer.  You'll minimally collect the original $750 plus 2/3 of any excess.  Worth exploring, again, especially if there are issues with the temporary easement

Thanks so much for all the valuable feedback.

In regards to landscaping, it's just an open grassy area, so we're not too worried about damages.  The city sent me proposed renderings and it looks simple enough.  So we'll try to negotiate a slightly higher number and let our tenants know there is public transportation coming.

Again, thank you for all the info!

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