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The acquisition section acquires fee and easement interests along with necessary mitigation property for Water Authority construction projects. Additionally, the section leases and manages Water Authority-owned real property. When necessary, the section will dispose or sell real property.
When real property is required for its project, Water Authority staff will work with property owners to acquire the needed property by mutual agreement.
The most common forms of acquisition are Fee Purchase, Easement Purchase, Temporary Easements, Rights of Entry, and Lease.
A Fee Purchase is the outright purchase of the ownership of a parcel of land from one party by another party. An offer by the Water Authority to purchase the fee interest in a property is made based on a fair market appraisal completed by an independent appraiser. Property owners may provide input and data to the appraisers and may obtain their own appraisal.
The purchase of easement rights by the Water Authority also requires payment of just compensation based on a fair market appraisal. Rather than purchasing the outright ownership, the Water Authority may only need to use a portion of a parcel of land for its project.
From time to time it may be necessary to acquire additional work area for projects under construction. When this is necessary, temporary easements may be acquired. Once the project is completed, the temporary easement is quitclaimed or expires and full use of the land is once again available to the property owner.
Rights of Entry
Similar to a Temporary Easement, a Right of Entry allows the Water Authority to enter a property for a specific reason, usually for a specific, short-term duration.
Lease is the rental of real property by one party from another party for a specific time period at a predetermined price. The Water Authority occasionally leases necessary property from private parties and may lease its owned real property to private users.
An appraisal of property will be made before negotiations are started. The three methods generally used are:
- The market value or comparison method: How the property compares with similar properties that have sold in the area
- Replacement or cost method: Value based on the cost to replace the improvements, less depreciation
- Income method: A valuation determination based on the income the property produces.
When negotiations reach an impasse, or if clear title cannot be conveyed, the Water Authority may initiate condemnation proceedings to gain possession through the legal system. This process will also cover compensation for the property.
If a Water Authority project displaces an owner or tenant, the property owner and/or tenant may be entitled to receive relocation benefits. Occupants of the property will be interviewed to determine the needs of the occupants and advised of their specific eligibility for assistance.
Only legal residents of the dwelling will be eligible for relocation benefits. Relocation benefits can include referrals to other locations, reimbursement for moving expenses, or possibly a payment to reimburse for increased housing costs.