Landowner Options in Property Acquisition by Caltrans

The members of the Executive Committee are aware that Caltrans is continually advancing their work on the State Hwy 174 safety project. Currently, Caltrans is moving ahead with appraisals and purchase offers to private property owners.

Under Stat Law, a property owner has the ability to retain a separate independent appraiser to conduct an appraisal of your property and submit to the State on your behalf. Your ability to contest or negotiate with Caltrans on property value is only strengthened by having another company or appraiser act on your behalf. A very important point to remember is that landowners have just 30 days to reject a Caltrans offer if they are hiring their own appraiser or attorney.

The Committee is submitting this message to the group to insure you are aware of some potential options. One option available to you is to hire a company specializing in appraisal and land negotiation. One company that a number of Highway 174 property owners are using is: Century Law Group, LLC. This firm provides both appraisal and legal counsel services in that they prepare the appraisal and negotiate with Caltrans on your behalf. If you are interested in their services, please contact Gabriella, who is serving as a coordinator for this project, at (310) 342-6900.

A second option is to retain your own appraiser to conduct the appraisal. Under State law, Caltrans is required to fund the cost of this appraisal up to $5000. It is best to retain an appraiser who is familiar with the government process for property acquisition. While there are many appraisers in our region, the Committee is aware of one local appraiser who is familiar with this project, lives locally and has done numerous appraisals for government acquisitions. The appraiser is Dan Ketchum and he can be reached at (530) 477-8056. Mr. Ketchum is also very open to talking to any property owner to better understand the government acquisition process.

The Committee is hoping this information may prove useful to our property owners. We do not specifically endorse this firm or appraiser; it was our intent to provide you with the best information that we have at this point.