Half Moon Bay Case Settles

The case of Yamagiwa v. Half Moon Bay has settled, with the City Council voting 4 to 1 in favor of settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, the city won’t have to pay the $36.8 million inverse condemnation judgment entered against it by the U.S. District Court, but in return it will have to permit the land owner to build 129 single-family homes on the 24-acre subject property and an adjacent parcel on which the owner holds an option. The city has promised to obtain passage of state legislation that will exempt the subject property from the regulations the city has relied on to frustrate its development.

All entitlements must be in place by June 30, 2009, and if that deadline is extended, no later than December 31, 2011. Each party is to bear its own attorneys’ fees. 

If the deadline is not met, the city will pay the owner $18,000,000 with interest at 6%. City officials estimate that the bonded indebtedness that the city would have to incur to pay the latter amount would come to $1.25 million per year for 40 years. 

For full local press coverage of this settlement see www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/localnews/ci_8780477. 

It now remains to be seen whether this case will have a chastising effect on California’s eager-beaver land-use regulators who by and large believe that they are the law, and that land owners have no rights. Stay tuned.

For our earlier coverage of this controversy, see our posts of November 30, 2007 and of December 7, 2007.

2 thoughts on “Half Moon Bay Case Settles

  1. Will J. Richardson

    Dear Mr. Kanner,

    A discussion of the right to jury trial in inverse condemnation should at least mention City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd. I never did understand that case.



  2. gideon

    True enough. City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes, 526 U.S. 687 (1999)held that trial by jury is available in actions brought under 42 USC Sec. 1983, in cases seeking relief for uncompemsated takings. But the problem is that this is a federal rule and state courts where property owners have to sue in taking cases are not bound by it, certainly not after the San Remo Hotel case. If you don’t understand that, you are not alone — that aspect of the inverse condemnation law is an incomprehesible mess.

    We deal with the right to jury trial in eminent domain in our blog entitled Trial by Jury: A Bulwark of Our Liberties, or a Loathsome Social Disease? dated April 10, 2008.

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