Facts: A government agency planned to construct a public walkway over an owner’s private property, reserving the land for open space and recreational use. The plan also included improvements to be built at a later phase. The agency condemned the property through eminent domain without preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) and posted a notice of exemption.
Claim: The property owner sought to retain possession of the property, claiming the agency’s use of eminent domain was invalid since the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires an EIR be completed before a government entity may condemn property.
Counter claim: The agency claimed the eminent domain action was valid since an EIR is not required to condemn property to preserve open space and provide public access, it is only required prior to commencing the construction of improvements .
Holding: A California Court of Appeals held the eminent domain action was valid since an EIR is not required prior to condemning private property, it is only required prior to improving the property. [Golden Gate Land Holdings LLC v. East Bay Regional Park District (2013) __ CA4th __]