Proposition 13 And Public Agency Acquisitions Of Private Property
With the approval of the Napa River Flood Control Project by the voters on March 3 1998, a major program of public acquisition of private property is now underway along the length of the Project. Over two hundred separate parcels will be impacted in whole or in part in the largest public works project in Napa County's history. While the overwhelming majority of those parcels will retain most of their existing uses with only minor impacts from levee easements or temporary construction easements, the project will impose greater changes on a few owners.
A few owners will need to find replacement residential or business property because the project acquires most or all of the parcel. Buying replacement property would normally mean that the owners would have a new Proposition 13 base year value based on their acquisition cost and/or the cost of new construction of the replacement property. However, I want to assure these owners that they will be able to transfer their Proposition 13 factored base year value to that replacement property within Napa County or to any other California county as long as they meet the conditions below.
First, the replacement property cannot qualify for tax relief unless it is acquired after the earliest of the following: "an initial written offer is made by the acquiring entity;" or "the date the acquiring entity takes final action to approve the project;" or "the date as declared by a court that the [original] property was taken". In other words an owner cannot transfer their base year value to a property which they owned before the public agency begins the acquisition process. The replacement property must be acquired and a request for base year transfer filed with the Assessor in the appropriate county no later than four years from the date of acquisition by the public agency.
The second rule is that the replacement property must be comparable in size, utility and function to the property acquired by the public agency. Comparable also means that the cost of the replacement property including any required construction does not exceed 120 per cent of the purchase price paid by the public agency excluding any relocation assistance. To the extent a replacement property is larger, more expensive than 120 per cent or has more uses than the acquired property the non-comparable portion will be subject to reappraisal .
The third rule is that the owner of the acquired property must be the buyer of the replacement property. Thus, an individual whose property was acquired could not buy a share in a partnership which owned, or was formed to purchase, a piece of comparable replacement property. By the same token, a partnership that held acquired property could not split the purchase price among the partners who would then buy replacement property as individuals. Finally, the property must be purchased within four years of the date of conveyance to the District.
Some property owners along Napa Creek have already been contacted by the City of Napa. Other property owners along the Napa River are now being contacted by the Flood Control District. Any property owner who may be impacted by project acquisition should contact Assessor John Tuteur at 707.253.4459 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Proposition 13 base year transfer opportunities.