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Federal government settles border land lawsuit with county and state

Smuggler's Gulch
Smuggler's Gulch

On Tuesday, December 4, the federal government agreed to pay $7 million to the county parks, state parks, and California Coastal Conservancy for land that was condemned in order to build additional layers of border fencing between the International Boundary Water Commission sewage-treatment plant and Goat Canyon.

Federal court records show that the $7 million payment will be split three ways: about $2.1 million to the state parks for land leased to the county, $2.5 million to the county, and $2.4 to the California Coastal Conservancy. The money is payment for land taken and is not earmarked for any specific use.

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Among the land taken from the county was a strip through Smuggler's Gulch, which was built up so the Border Patrol could put a road through. The suit, filed in 2006, was long and contentious, including a pitched battle over testimony by competing appraisers. The highest valuation came in at over $35 million, while the government initially proposed compensation at well under $1 million.

The court fight over the land does not include additional land taken from Border Field State Park, including part of the top of Bunker Hill; that court battle continues.

Neither the state nor county have stated what they will do with the money.

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Smuggler's Gulch
Smuggler's Gulch

On Tuesday, December 4, the federal government agreed to pay $7 million to the county parks, state parks, and California Coastal Conservancy for land that was condemned in order to build additional layers of border fencing between the International Boundary Water Commission sewage-treatment plant and Goat Canyon.

Federal court records show that the $7 million payment will be split three ways: about $2.1 million to the state parks for land leased to the county, $2.5 million to the county, and $2.4 to the California Coastal Conservancy. The money is payment for land taken and is not earmarked for any specific use.

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Among the land taken from the county was a strip through Smuggler's Gulch, which was built up so the Border Patrol could put a road through. The suit, filed in 2006, was long and contentious, including a pitched battle over testimony by competing appraisers. The highest valuation came in at over $35 million, while the government initially proposed compensation at well under $1 million.

The court fight over the land does not include additional land taken from Border Field State Park, including part of the top of Bunker Hill; that court battle continues.

Neither the state nor county have stated what they will do with the money.

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Comments
3

This is ridiculous. That land, which was to be kept from development, cannot be valued at such ridiculously high levels. Only land that is to be developed is justified for valuations such as those - how much of this land was to be developed?

Dec. 5, 2012

right. Land next to the busiest border crossing in the world, next to the Pacific Ocean and in an ideal climate should not have a value, is that what you are saying? The Fed's got a great deal, get over it.

Dec. 9, 2012

I hope the money stays in making those parks more accessible - the county has done a great job of improving and creating trails in the Tijuana River County Park there. That Smuggler's Gulch project involved the wholesale destruction of endangered habitat but it also made our area a lot safer.

Dec. 5, 2012

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