Make Way for the California Bullet Train: Relocation Preplanning

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Make Way for the California Bullet Train Relocation PreplanningHave you heard about the new California Bullet Train? The California High-Speed Rail Authority is acquiring thousands of acres of land in the Central Valley of California to make way for the new train.

Its an area with high unemployment rates and for some owners, the financial opportunity to settle and move on is a welcome one. But for many others, its a challenging time and an emotional process. Some of the local Fresno business owners are finding the initial offers to be extremely low and nowhere near the replacement value.

Relocation preplanning is of the utmost importance in this situation. The businesses being displaced by the train will become eligible to incur and receive reimbursements for relocation costs, but only after the public agency has completed their analysis. At that time, they determine each business eligibility for relocation benefits.

Theres a big problem with this; its not until the public agency has completed their analysis that they actually explain the relocation benefits to the business owners. As a result, most businesses dont begin planning their relocation until the analysis is complete. By that time, the businesses are usually either obliged to plan their relocation around what the public agency has already determined, or they have to appeal those decisions.

From the point of view of a well-trained eye, it appears that the people in the path of the high-speed rail are in a perfect position to preplan their relocation. It seems that only a few property owners have been contacted by the public agency so far, but that the rail path is well defined.

The law in California allows owners to charge the state up to $5,000 for their own property appraisal after receiving the state’s initial offer. If the business owners wait for the states offer, it becomes too late to pre-plan the relocation. Waiting uses up unnecessary time and resources and the results of waiting are uncertain. When you wait, the only remaining option is to attempt to undo what would likely have been prevented with preplanning.

Preplanning creates an increased amount of time for evaluating and making critical decisions. It gives business owners a chance to properly evaluate potential replacement properties, and understand how relocation benefits will and will not assist with making a potential replacement property functional for the business.

During an eminent domain process like the California bullet train, there can be a lot of misleading information or assumptions made about what the relocation benefits will and will not provide. With the right preplanning, you can avoid the misinformation that usually causes the process to derail and veer off in a direction that can be costly to your business. It will help you ensure that your decisions will be made based on the actual facts of the relocation benefits. Preplanning grants more time and knowledge of the process, which opens up more business relocation options.

Proper preplanning sets the stage for your actual relocation, saving you out of pocket expenses because of a rushed move, lack of choices, and excessive key employee time spent on the relocation. Its the best way to formulate a plan and make use of relocation benefits to minimize business downtime.

Most importantly, preplanning gives a business the opportunity to guide the public agencys decision-making process as they determine the eligible relocation benefits. Preplanning a business relocation refers to planning before the business has received their notice of eligibility for relocation benefits and before the public agencys offer has been made on the real property.

For businesses and individuals located in the path of the train line who have not yet been contacted, the preplanning window is open and now is the time to act. This is a fleeting opportunity for businesses. Preplanning empowers business owners with informed knowledge that will enable them to take positive action. The difference between taking advantage of the preplanning stage and missing that opportunity can be the difference between real business savings of both money and efficiency vs. expensive business hardship and stress.


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