Last week, we posted the link to the Westside Subway Extension’s Metro’s construction impacts fact sheet. This week we bring you info from the subway’s new property acquisition fact sheet, which you can find here as a website and here as a PDF.
While this fact sheet is directly about the subway, it also generally addresses the process that Metro follows when it needs to obtain property for various projects. Here’s the introduction:
Why Metro Needs Property for the Subway
The Westside Subway Extension will travel underground, mostly below public rights-of-way. Metro will, however, need to acquire or secure use of some private property in order to build and operate the subway. In some cases the property will be acquired on a permanent basis. In other cases, Metro will only need the property temporarily. Property will be required for primarily three purposes:
- Construction staging
- Station portals (entrances)
- Below ground easements (subsurface easement)
Currently Metro owns two pieces of property along the proposed alignment – the parcels at Wilshire/Crenshaw and Wilshire/La Brea. Those properties were purchased in the 1980s for potential future transportation projects. The La Brea site currently houses a Metro Customer Service Center, some commercial uses and a metered parking lot. The Crenshaw property consists of a surface parking lot.
This fact sheet explains the property requirements for the Project in more detail, the various ways Metro could acquire needed property interests, and the likely timing and process for property acquisition.
Of those three bullet points above, construction staging and station portal construction are the two activities that L.A. County residents will actually notice. The fact sheet notes that, “when possible, the station portals are located at the construction staging site in order to keep the construction impacts contained to a central area.”
While Metro only owns two parcels it will need for these purposes, Metro will need to use private property in other instances. In that event, Metro will provide compensation either by purchasing the property outright or leasing it from the owner.
The fact sheet also addresses the subject of Metro purchasing easements in the cases in which the subway passes under private homes or other property. Excerpt:
In some areas, project tunnels will need to pass underneath existing homes and businesses. Portions of subway stations and other underground facilities may also need to be located beneath private property. In these cases, Metro will purchase a subsurface easement from the property owner. This is accomplished through a one-time payment and the easement deed is recorded. A subsurface easement for the Project would be similar to underground easements that a utility or cable company obtains for fiber optic cables, water lines, gas lines, etc. Between stations, tunnels are generally 50-70 feet below the surface though they are anticipated to be much deeper in certain areas for this Project.
As a part of the environmental study phase, Metro has been talking to landowners and identifying properties — on a preliminary basis — that the agency may need to acquire or lease. Final determinations will be made when the Metro Board of Directors approves the project’s final environmental impact report, which is currently being finished.
At that point, the fact sheet notes, “Metro’s Real Estate Department will contact property owners to initiate the process for acquisition of the property and/or easement.”