Almost every state has a “Right of Entry” statute. The provision that allows an agency considering the acquisition of property, the right to enter property to survey and test the property prior to the filing of a condemnation case. This entry is not to be one that damages a property, or any damages would then be paid for.
This Right of Entry provision has been held constitutional in California despite the notion that anything touched or taken should be paid for generally on a good faith offer prior to acquisition. Quite simply, the surveying process, one which is available in almost every jurisdiction, is one necessary for authorities to not be at risk of paying too much for property.
The California Supreme Court opinion Property Reserve v. Superior Court, (2016 WL 3924221) has been awaited for months because of its implication in the statutory process of many other jurisdictions.
“In a defeat for Delta landowners, the state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that government officials need not go through a formal eminent domain process before they can survey private property for the $15 billion twin tunnels.
The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling and removes one potential hurdle for the massive water diversion project after a six-year, back-and-forth legal struggle between Delta farmers and the state Department of Water Resources.
Delta farmers, who fiercely oppose the tunnels, objected to the state’s efforts to access their land. The proposed surveys included activities such as searching for animals, taking photographs and drilling softball-sized holes more than 200 feet deep to examine the soil.”
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