A CALTRANS TRUCK crosses narrow Blairs Lane Bridge. The bridge is scheduled for replacement. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins


Eminent domain starts for Blairs Lane Bridge

By From page A1 | January 25, 2013

Placerville City Council approved the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the  Blairs Lane Bridge Improvement/Replacement Project at Tuesday’s meeting.

The project, funded under a federal grant from the Highway Bridge Program,  would replace the existing bridge on Blairs Lane where it crosses Hangtown Creek, bringing it up to current flood standards and city street standards. It requires right of way access as well as construction and public utility easements of property owned by Lee and Umesh Patel and the city has been unable to reach agreement with the property owners.

“The property owner is pretty much in agreement with this, but other legal matters have prevented resolution, “said City Attorney John Driscoll. “Ultimately, I believe we will be able to reach agreement, but in order to meet funding and construction time frames, we want to start eminent domain proceedings to acquire the property we need.”

The property in question is actually in the creek bed itself and along the creek bank on the western end of the improved property owned by the Patels.

California eminent domain law requires a Resolution of Necessity that is based on whether  the public interest and necessity requires the proposed project; whether the project is planned or located in a manner that is most compatible with the greatest good and least private injury; whether the real property to be acquired is necessary for the project and  whether offers of just compensation have been made.

“The existing Blairs Lane Bridge does not meet flood standards,” said Driscoll. The project will benefit the community by improving the efficiency and safety of public access to the areas south of the bridge. Blairs Lane is the only access route for the residences on the south side of the Bridge and the retirement community at the terminus of Blairs Lane.

As a condition of approval for the development of the Eskaton Placerville Village, the developer has been paying a portion of the cost of the bridge replacement not covered by the federal grant.

Since the needed property is located in the creek bed and along the creek on either side of the existing bridge, the project’s impacts to the improved property are minimal, according to the staff report by Driscoll.

The property is necessary to the Blairs Lane Bridge Project and the city has negotiated agreements with all other parcel owners for easements.

“This is the last piece of the puzzle,”said Driscoll. “Without the property, the project can’t move forward. Funding will be delayed, if not lost.”

Appraisals for the required property : 225 square feet of right of way; 191 square feet of temporary construction easement; 356 square feet of slope and public utility easement and two additional 10-foot-wide public utility easements across Hangtown Creek, were established and offers of just compensation made by the city.

“We have not yet come to a fruitful conclusion,” said Driscoll.

The property owners were notified of the Jan. 22 public hearing and Mayor Wendy Mattson asked for any interested parties to come forward for their input. When no member of the public chose to speak about the subject, the council voted  5-0 to approve a Resolution of Necessity to acquire the property needed for the project by eminent domain.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530-344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @WSchultzMtDemo.

Wendy Schultz

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