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Indiana Great Lakes Basin Railroad


Great Lakes Basin Transportation[1], Inc. proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area.  The purpose of the new railroad is to expedite freight movements across the nation and to provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic.

The Great Lakes Basin is a large railroad project extending from part of Indiana, through Illinois and into the southern part of Wisconsin. The privately funded Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc., (GLBT) plans to provide an $8 billion, 278-mile rail line[2] to circumvent Chicago's hub from Janesville, Wisconsin, south to Rockford, into Grundy County, Kankakee County, and into Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties in Indiana.

In recent weeks, the Federal Surface Transportation Board has conducted public meetings throughout the region, seeking input and drawing lots of opposition from area farmers. Next, the STB is expected to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a two- to three-year process, and then decide if it will approve or deny the project, or change the route.

Compensation for Indiana and Illinois Landowners

The main issue for impacted owners is will they be fairly compensated by Great Lakes Basin Railroad. The co-founder, Frank Patton, mentioned that they would be paid $20,000 an acre, pro-rated to the 200 foot right of way strip needed for the rails. There are many issues including impacting farmer operations, decreased overall land value and other issues such as access, tile and the potential impact on wetlands.

In a decision issued on April 8, 2016, the Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) announced to the public and all interested parties that the comment period for the EIS Draft Scope of Study will be extended an additional 30 days to June 15, 2016.

Contact an Indiana Condemnation Attorney

If you are an Indiana landowner and you believe that you and your land will be impacted by the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad project, the skilled Indiana condemnation attorneys at Sever Storey LLP have the experience necessary to review your situation and determine what steps are necessary to protect your interests. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.



North Carolina Transportation Corridor Map Act


In the state of North Carolina, the Transportation Corridor Map Act[1] allows the Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to file official roadway maps listing and mapping properties that are in the path of a proposed roadway in order to create a "protected corridor" that it may use in the future for highway bypass projects.  NCDOT used their powers under what has become known as the “Map Act” in projects throughout the state, including the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway, the Greensboro Urban Loop Project, and the Monroe Bypass, among others. North Carolina land owners in areas and projects affected by the Map Act were prevented from obtaining building permits, making improvements on their property, and subdividing or developing their land. Protected corridor designations also effectively made properties unsellable because real estate market buyers knew a parcel would likely be taken by eminent domain.

North Carolina Supreme Court Decision

On June 10, 2016, in the case of Kirby v. NCDOT[2], the North Carolina Supreme Court determined that the maps were harmful to land owners based upon their removal of land owners’ rights to sell, improve or modify their property and that the maps amounted to a taking of landowners’ property without just compensation thereby exercising the government's power of eminent domain.  The Supreme Court further decided that North Carolina land owners are allowed to seek damages for their losses including:

•    The value of the land rights that have been taken from land owners

•    Annual interest back to the date of the Transportation Corridor Official Map filings

•    Attorneys fees

•    Expenses and reimbursement for back taxes paid

The Supreme Court decision has implications that go beyond the Map Act and the taking of property for road-building. Had the ruling gone the other way, it might well have opened the door to uncompensated takings[3] in various other situations, as well. There are many situations where the state might want to lower the value of property by indefinitely banning development, so it can then take the property at a later date in order to use it for a public project.

Contact a North Carolina Condemnation Attorney

If you are a North Carolina landowner who has been affected by the Transportation Corridor Map Act, it is important to contact an experienced North Carolina condemnation attorney as soon as possible. The team of skilled lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP, were the first to file cases in Guilford County for the Greensboro Urban Loop[4] after the North Carolina Supreme Court ruling and have helped lead the way to protecting the legal rights of North Carolina Property owners.  They understand the value of your land, how it is adversely affected by eminent domain, and the potential claims and compensation that the law allows.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.



Eminent Domain Allowed In Ohio To Obtain Propane And Butane



In February 2016, Ohio Judge T. Shawn Hervey issued a ruling in the case of “Sunoco Pipeline L.P.[1] vs. Carol A. Teter, trustee of the Carol A. Teter Revocable Living Trust et. al.” In his decision, Judge Hervey ruled that liquefied propane[2] and butane are considered petroleum.  

Based upon the court’s decision, Sunoco Pipeline, L.P.[3] can now use eminent domain pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code to gain permanent and temporary easements across the Teter farm in order to put the pipeline through the land.  Sunoco is building the Mariner East 2 Pipeline which will run from Scio, Ohio, to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, carrying liquefied propane and butane.  

The lawsuit was initially filed in May of 2015 by Sunoco Pipeline against Teter at a time when the Teters were the last landowners in the line of the Sunoco Pipeline in Harrison County that did not have an easement for the Sunoco Pipeline.  The Teter family purchased the 162-acre farm in 2001 with an existing Enterprise Pipeline on the property. Then, in 2010, the APEX pipeline was built along the existing pipeline, both of which are on the south end of the Teter property.  The Teter family had argued, in part, that Sunoco is not a “common carrier” and that liquefied propane and butane are not considered petroleum under the terms of the Ohio Revised Code.  

Judge Hervey ruled in favor of Sunoco and found that pure liquefied propane and butane meet Ohio’s statutory definition of “petroleum” in the Ohio Revised Code.

He also said the pipeline is a common carrier and that it is necessary to transport propane and butane. He added that the pipeline services a public use providing consumers access to Ohio products.  Although the landowners did not win at the county court level, they are appealing it to the Seventh District Court of Appeals with plans to continue to the Ohio Supreme court if necessary.  

Contact an Ohio Condemnation Attorney

Landowners who believe they may be affected by the Sunoco Pipeline or any other Ohio project should contact an eminent domain attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP are dedicated to protecting the rights of landowners and ensuring that each client they represent obtains the full and fair value of any taking of their property that may occur. We represent both commercial and residential landowners in disputes ranging from small setbacks to takings involving millions of dollars. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




North Carolina Business Condemnation


Under the power of eminent domain[1], a governmental entity can take business property as well as residential property.  When that occurs, many North Carolina business owners are surprised to learn that business losses caused by condemnation are not factored into the offer of compensation.  Unfortunately, except in rare instances, the government will not pay for lost business profits or for the interruption of business during construction.

Business Property Rights

It is important to speak to an experienced North Carolina business condemnation attorney to make sure that you are treated fairly and that you are paid what you are owed for the taking of your business property.  The United States Constitution and North Carolina law provide that you are entitled to “just compensation” when the government takes your private property for a public use.  The government will hire an appraiser and offer to purchase your property based on that appraiser’s valuation of your property.  Unfortunately, in many cases, the government fails to recognize all of the factors that determine the value of commercial property. Not only are you losing a business location through eminent domain, but a loss of the property could also have a significant impact on the viability of your business.

There are a number of factors that can impact the value of your business. Some of the factors that may not have been considered in the government's appraisal include:

•    Commuter traffic
•    Visibility to potential customers
•    Location
•    Parking

Contact a North Carolina Business Condemnation Attorney

The condemnation process can be long and confusing with risk and uncertainty, even for savvy landowners and long-time business owners.  If you are a business owner who is losing their property to condemnation, contact a North Carolina business condemnation attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP, understand the commercial value of businesses and how they are adversely affected by eminent domain.  Our team of experienced attorneys will develop an intricate plan, which may include business appraisers to address the manner in which your business has been negatively impacted, as well as other concerns specific to commercial clients.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




The Importance Of An Indiana “Date Of Take”


Eminent domain is the authority of the government to take private property for public use.  Condemnation is the process by which such takings are achieved. The process of condemnation begins with the identification of a public need and a determination by the relevant governmental body that it is necessary to acquire private property to fill the identified public need. Most often there will be a period of public hearings where the issues are debated and the authority granted. Once the project is approved, the condemning authority will contact the property owners in an effort to purchase the needed property.

What is the Date of Value?

Because land values change over time, in order to make a present value determination, a court or a legislature must set a date on which to value the property in a condemnation case.  The date of take is critical in an Indiana condemnation process because it sets the date of value, the “as of” date for all appraisals.

The appraisal date (or effective date) of the appraisal obtained by the governmental entity that is attempting to take your property will be the date of the last inspection by the appraiser. Once a condemnation case is filed, the Court, by law, establishes a new appraisal date, commonly referred to as the “date of take”[1], and it is the date the landowners are served with a copy of the Notice to Appear[2] in court and the Complaint for Appropriation of Real Estate.  Since the effective date of the original appraisal may be from 6 months to several years before the date of take, it is frequently necessary to update the appraisal to correspond with the “date of take”.

The relevance of the date of take in pre-condemnation planning is significant. The landowner is entitled to use their property and improve it until a taking occurs. Any improvements made after that date will not be valued when calculating the condemnation award. That date also determines the relevance of proactive pre-condemnation activity to position the property advantageously and/or to acquire easements or access opportunities prior to the condemnation.

Contact an Indiana Condemnation Attorney

If you are an Indiana landowner and you believe that the government is starting condemnation proceedings, the experienced condemnation attorneys at Sever Storey LLP have the experience necessary to review the date of take and determine what steps are necessary to protect your interests. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




North Carolina 2016 Condemnation By NCDOT



The North Carolina Department of Transportation[1] released its March 2016 Board of Transportation Agenda.  The document confirms the Board’s determination that a right of way acquisition is necessary for specified projects and that the acquisition of land associated with those projects, either by negotiation or by land condemnation in North Carolina, has been approved including:

•    Harnett County;; I.D. No. W-5601AO;; Project No. 50138.2.42: NC 87 at SR 1115 (Buffalo Lake Road).
•    Cumberland County;; I.D. No. U-2519BA;; Project No. 34817.2.16:  Fayetteville Outer Loop from South of SR 1003 (Camden Road to South of SR 1104 (Strickland Bridge Road) Utilities.
•    Forsyth County;; I.D. No. W-5601AM;; Project No. 50138.2.40:
SR 2021 (Dobson/Kerner Roads) at SR 2024 (Old Valley School Road) in Kernersville.
•    Cabarrus County;; I.D. No. B-5548;; Project No. 55048.2.1: Bridge No. 103 over Dutch Buffalo Creek on NC 49.
•    Union County;; I.D. No. W-5601BH;; Project No. 50138.2.61: SR 1008 (Waxhaw Indian Trail Road) and SR 1346 (Beulah Church Road) near Wesley Chapel.

North Carolina Eminent Domain

Federal, state and local governments all have the power to condemn private property[2] for public purposes. This power has been delegated to government agencies including the North Carolina Department of Transportation. This power has also been delegated to “quasi-public” entities such as public utility companies, but these “private condemnors” are subject to somewhat different procedures and restrictions. Under federal and North Carolina law, all entities possessing the power of eminent domain are subject to the constitutional requirements that 1) a taking must be for a public use; and 2) the property owner must receive just compensation.

If it appears that your property will be affected by a governmental taking, then you need to be proactive. You need to act before the process begins. In general, when considering pre-condemnation actions, it is wise to seek the advice of a North Carolina attorney experienced in property law and eminent domain issues.

Contact an Experienced North Carolina Condemnation Attorney

Condemnation negotiations are very complex and each property is unique. If you are a landowner who has received a condemnation notice, or if your property is listed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation as a property approved for condemnation, contact the skilled North Carolina eminent domain attorneys at the law office of Sever Storey, LLP today.   Please call for help today at 888-318-3761.




What Is Kentucky Condemnation?



Condemnation occurs when a local, state, or federal government seizes private property and compensates the owner. The power of the government to do this is called “eminent domain”, which means that the government takes private property for public use. The land owner is then entitled to just compensation for the property.

Kentucky Condemnation Laws

Kentucky Revised Statutes[1] provides that eminent domain is available for:

•Railroads (KRS 416.010)

•Roads (416.100, 416.110, 416.350)

•Dams and other structures for electricity and navigation (416.130)

•Suppliers of water, electricity, gas or gasoline for light, heat, domestic use or power (KRS 416.140

•Telephone Companies (KRS 416.150)

•Cemeteries (416.210)

•Water Associations (416.340)

•Relocation of Public Utility Facilities (416.360)

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, which allows condemnation for a “public purpose,” Kentucky law is clear that the state constitution requires that the property or use of property condemned be available for public use.

The Kentucky Condemnation Process

The condemnation process may vary slightly depending on the situation, but in general:

•   Once the government has decided to take the property and has come up with a reasonable appraisal of how much the property is worth, or fair market value, it will offer the property owner a partial payment made by the government as compensation for the land being seized.  

•   If the owner does not wish to sell, the government files an appropriate court action to exercise the right of eminent domain.  

•   A hearing will be scheduled where the government has to show that the monetary offer to the landowner is reasonable and the property is indeed being taken for public use.  During the hearing, the landowner is allowed to present a response.  

Getting Help for Kentucky Eminent Domain

If you have received a notice of a Kentucky condemnation, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Kentucky condemnation lawyer at the law office of Sever Storey, LLP as soon as possible.  The government will likely try to move as quickly as possible and may even pressure you, as the land owner, to accept their settlement offer.  The attorneys at Sever Storey, LLP can effectively identify damages and select the necessary experts allowing you to properly negotiate with the condemning authority and be willing to take your case to trial if settlement negotiations fail.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for a free consultation.




Illiana Tollway Project Dead


On March 11, 2016, the Daily Southtown[1] reported that Will County, Illinois officials now believe that the proposed Illiana toll road is a dead project in the state of Illinois. Will County officials stated that they plan to move on without this previously proposed project.  The controversial proposed toll road would have connected I-65 in Indiana with I-55 near Joliet.  In June of 2015, the Illinois Department of Transportation had decided to table the proposed project in light of the state’s fiscal crisis and lack of sufficient capital resources.  

Illinois Eminent Domain

If the Illiana tollway project had been allowed to proceed, the toll way would have ruined, severed, and diminished thousands of acres[2] of productive agricultural land, running through family farms that had existed for more than a century and otherwise having a negative impact on numerous Illinois land owners.  The toll road also would have polluted high quality rivers and creeks and paved over wetlands while increasing vehicle and truck traffic, likely driving away wildlife including the northern long-eared bats, a federally listed threatened species.

Illinois Condemnation Law

In the state of Illinois, eminent domain[3] is described as the inherent power of a state to take or damage private property for a public use, subject to the constitutional limitation that, “Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation as provided by law.” Ill. Const. Art. 1, §15 (1970). Illinois has, by legislation, delegated similar powers to governmental units, public bodies and public service corporations.  If you are an Illinois landowner and have received a condemnation notice, it is imperative to speak to an Illinois eminent domain attorney as soon as possible.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Eminent Domain Attorney

The laws concerning eminent domain can be difficult to understand.  If you receive a condemnation notice, determining the amount of compensation to which you are entitled can be complex and the skilled Illinois condemnation attorneys at the law office of Sever Storey, LLP can assist you. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




Four Things To Know About Ohio Condemnation



When you learn that your property may be condemned, you need information and advice as to how to proceed and what actions to take. The Ohio condemnation process is complicated, making it necessary to speak to an experienced Ohio eminent domain attorney as soon as possible.  In the meantime, there are several things you should know about condemnation proceedings in the state of Ohio:

1.    What is eminent domain?  Eminent domain[1], also known as condemnation, is the power of the local state and federal government to take private property belonging to its citizens for public use, provided just compensation is paid to the owner. Some private companies or individuals may also be granted the power to condemn private property to complete certain projects intended to benefit the public.  These private companies may include redevelopment authorities, oil and gas companies, railroads or other privately-owned utility companies.

2.    Should I Discuss the Value of my Property with a Government Representative?  You should always consult with an experienced Ohio condemnation lawyer before having any conversation with a government representative.  You may be entitled to special benefits and rights from the condemning authority and a skilled eminent domain attorney can confirm all of the compensation that applies to your particular land ownership.   

3.    Should I let the Government Conduct Environmental or Other Tests?  Some of the requested tests the condemning authority may ask to perform are routine and not invasive.  Some tests, however, require boring large holes into the ground or establishing monitoring wells. This type of testing may disrupt your use and enjoyment of the property.  It is important to avoid all such testing until you have had the opportunity to speak to an Ohio condemnation attorney.

4.    What is Relocation Assistance?  Reimbursement for relocation[2] expenses is handled separately, although it is related to the eminent domain process.

Business Relocation

: The successful relocation of a business can be a challenging task. Tenants are often entitled to relocation benefits and assistance to secure a replacement site and move the business. The relocation process may require complex negotiations which are unique to the type of property taken and business operated at the site. Most importantly, the relocation of a business must be timely and well-coordinated to minimize business interruption.

Homeowner Relocation

: For a homeowner, relocation concerns may include the location of a replacement home within the same area as the condemned home, within a certain school district or within a certain distance from the owner's place of employment or family. Under relocation laws, the government is obligated to assist in finding a suitable replacement site but may not be focused on all of the issues important to you.

Contact Ohio Eminent Domain Attorneys

Eminent domain proceedings are complex and can involve complicated issues such as the property’s highest and best use, the calculation of just compensation and the damages a property has suffered due to the taking.  Property condemnation can also be a confusing and stressful process.  Having a qualified condemnation lawyer on your side to assist as you navigate the process is essential in order to protect your interests.  If you have received a notice of condemnation, contact the law office of Sever Storey, LLP as soon as possible. Call today at 888-318-3761 for a free consultation.




Kentucky Condemnation Forced The Closure Of Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway



With the warming weather of spring and summer approaching, Kentucky residents may be looking for the Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway.  Unfortunately, eminent domain[1] claimed the speedway’s land, forcing the track to end their 2015 season early. The land which was claimed for a highway project, included approximately 36 acres, encompassed the racetrack’s pit area, maintenance building, ticket office and scales, rendering the racetrack’s utilities inoperable.

In 2014, the Commonwealth of Kentucky gave notice that its reconstruction of the I-24/Purchase Parkway Interchange for the I-69 corridor would take much of the real property used to operate the racetrack. After communicating with state officials, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet filed a condemnation lawsuit in Marshall Circuit Court to take the racetrack property by eminent domain in July 2014.  On Monday, September 21, the Court granted the Commonwealth’s motion for an interlocutor order to take the land. Thereafter, the racetrack owners made the decision to close the racetrack.

Kentucky Eminent Domain

The University of Kentucky [2] Cooperative Extension Service describes eminent domain as the right of the Commonwealth to take land for a public purpose.  The term “condemnation” is a process to take private property for a public purpose under the right of eminent domain.

Contact an Experienced Kentucky Condemnation Attorney for Assistance

Many people find it difficult to understand the laws concerning Kentucky condemnation.  Whether you are a landowner with a business or a private residence, if you receive a condemnation notice, it is important to contact the skilled Kentucky condemnation attorneys at the law office of Sever Storey, LLP as soon as possible.  The entity attempting to claim your land will try to move very quickly and our attorneys can determine the amount of compensation to which you are entitled, assist you in calculations, negotiations, and more. The attorneys at Sever Storey, LLP can effectively identify damages and select the necessary experts allowing you to properly negotiate with the condemning authority and be willing to take your case to trial if settlement negotiations fail.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for a free consultation.




Educational Videos

Sever Storey is passionate about helping landowners. We have created a video library packed with knowledge and information to help landowners gain more facts about the eminent domain process. Please watch the video's and let us know if you have any questions that we can help answer.



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