Delta tunnel: DWR signs agreement allowing real estate acquisition at 60% design

Amendment No 2 to JEPAThe Department of Water Resources has executed a 2nd amendment to the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JEPA) with the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA.)  The 2nd Amendment would allow the DCA to start acquiring property and easements for the Delta tunnel project at 60% engineering design for any part of the project.  It is unclear when the DCA is planning to be at 60% design, and whether land will be acquired for the Delta tunnel project before the Final Environmental Impact Report and Notice of Determination under CEQA.

Exhibit E to the 2nd Amendment to the JPA states:

The Authority shall conduct real property transactions (fee and easement), utility relocations, appraisals, offers, and interim property management, identification, disposal of surplus lands, and other right-of-way functions in the name of the DWR according to DWR’s rules, regulations, policy and procedures.

Exhibit E explains how the DCA will determine what lands, easements, and rights of way need: to be acquired, and develop and submit a Real Estate Plan for approval by DWR:

The Authority will determine the lands, easements and rights-of-way necessary for construction, operation and maintenance of the conveyance facility including those rights required for temporary construction areas, mitigation sites, borrow sites, spoil sites, access/haul routes, staging areas, private and public utility relocations, temporary and permanent power, and providing relocation assistance for qualified occupants and businesses of acquired property, as required by state and federal statutes, rules and regulations described in detail below.  […]

Real Estate Plan: The Authority will develop and submit to DWR a Real Estate Plan(s). The Authority may elect to submit a Real Estate Plan by Project Element, Project Feature, or Project Phase. The Project Real Estate Plan will include information gathered during the Acquisition Planning and Property Assessment Phases of the Land Acquisition process shown in Exhibit A.

The Real Estate Plans will include a narrative description of the identified real estate requirements including a breakdown of Authority’s estimate of total acreage to be acquired, and type of real property interests to be acquired. The Real Estate Plans shall include all lands required for other Conveyance Project purposes, such as mitigation and other regulatory needs and identify proposed end land uses for project lands…

The Authority’s Project Real Estate Plan will need to be based on, at a minimum, 60% designs, plans and specifications, which shall include: topographic drawings with the Project design features illustrated, assessor parcel numbers (APN), property lines, flood management structure, private utility relocations with the responsible party to relocate or protect in place noted and mitigation sites, borrow sites, spoil sites, access/haul routes, and staging areas. Additional items to consider include identifying potential uneconomic remnants, parcels to be acquired for exchange purposes, a proposal for excess lands, and interim property management.

It is currently unclear if the DCA is planning to publicly disclose the  “Real Estate Plans” submitted for approval to the Department of Water Resources, or the property that is acquired under the Real Estate Plans.  The Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement only requires the DCA to give the Department of Water Resources “access as requested to its records relating to … land acquisition.”

3 thoughts on “Delta tunnel: DWR signs agreement allowing real estate acquisition at 60% design

  1. DWR is in the pockets of rich southern California water barons who care nothing about multi-generational families living in the Sacramento Delta nor the impact on Heritage Communities.

  2. Even if you accept the premise that DAC is a separate entity from DWR, then DAC is DWR’s agent, and what DAC does for DWR is subject to the public records laws and public meetings laws.

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