Facts: An owner of property constructs a water runoff retention basin adjacent to a common interest development (CID) located immediately downhill from the property as part of an expansion of improvements on the uphill property. The retention basin proves inadequate to handle the runoff from the uphill property, causing overflow and seepage, which damages units in the downhill CID property. The uphill property owner proposes the CID homeowner’s association (HOA) construct a runoff interception trench on the CID property to address the retention basin runoff problem, which the HOA rejects.

Claim: The HOA seeks to require the uphill property owner to remove the retention basin, claiming that being required to construct an interception trench on their property confers a private right of eminent domain on the uphill property owner over the CID property.

Counterclaim: The uphill property owner seeks to require the HOA to construct the interception trench, arguing the forced removal of the retention basin causes undue harm on the operational viability of the uphill property.

Holding: A California Court of Appeals holds the uphill property owner needs to remove the retention basin as the harm caused to the downhill CID by the basin overflow problem is irreparable and the proposed interception trench solution confers a private right of eminent domain over the CID property on the part of the uphill property owner. [Aspen Grove Condominium Association v. CNL Income Northstar LLC (2014) 231 CA4th 53]

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