Wednesday, October 28, 2015

• Special City Council Meeting October 2015

2.1 Resolution of Necessity for Property Acquisition - Wildomar Master Drainage Plan Lateral C-1 Storm Drain

This has been perculating through the system for awhile now, and finally has come to a head. It has to do with the long awaited storm drainage improvements that will improve the flow of runoff out of Windsong Valley into the Murrieta Creek. Currently, if someone even spills a glass of water in that area, it floods on Palomar in front of Plow Boys veggie stand.

The city had been acquiring the necessary fragments of property so as to install a new Lateral C-1, but hit a snag with one property owner. This project was mentioned in the past couple of meetings, and that it has been on the verge of settlement each time.

Tonight's world record shortest council meeting ever was only dealing with this one issue. The property owner was in the council chambers as was his lawyer. As it turned out, it was all really just a formality, though I had to find humor in the property owner's trepidation as both Mayor Ben Benoit and Mayor Pro-Tem Bridgette Moore came up to introduce themselves before the meeting.

As you can see by the graphic above, the landowner is being fairly compensated by the terms of the deal:

The proposed acquisitions include:
  • One flood control (storm drain) permanent easement of 0.27 acres or 11,761 sf located along the northern property line; 
  • One Temporary Construction Easement (TCE): 0.51 acres or 22,216 sf, adjacent to the storm drain easement and also along a portion of the eastern property line. The TCE will be for a period of four months.  

My office and city staff have been in contact with the property owner and the property owner's attorney and we've been discussing what's commonly referred to as a friendly condemnation. Essentially what that means is, there is a process by which the property owner, and the public agency, can agree ahead of time to the terms of a court judgement. 

That will essentially lay out the terms for the city to acquire the property, but you agree to all that ahead of time. What it does is make the imminent domain court process go faster. We can still file Imminent Domain lawsuit but then skip to the end and have the judge enter judgement that we've already agreed to ahead of time. 
— Thomas Jex, City Attorney

The process has been very professional, you're well represented. As Tom [Jex] has mentioned, it protects the property owner and it protects the city. The protections that we wanted and to make sure that were in place and the certain protections that the city should have. Doing it this way seems to give both parties the protection that they need. I commend your choice in council, he's done a very good job. 
— Attorney for the landowner

So if everything is so going well, then why are we going to court to follow through on the imminent domain action, friendly as it may be, to acquire the necessary property? 

Do any of you remember the recent $120,000 payout to the AIPs? Where Wildomar basically had to fork out $200,000 in settlement, and our own legal fees, because of some wording that could have been better in a document the state of California said passed their requirements?

Yeah, people that are willing to agree with each other still have to seek the protection of the courts because of the actions of shady people.

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False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports. ― Richard Burton

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