If you are an Ohio landowner, and the government or other entity is attempting to take your property, it is important to understand if a landowner can challenge or object to eminent domain.  In a short answer, yes, the landowner can object.

The landowner needs to receive fair notice, meaning having enough time to seek advice of an attorney and prepare an objection against the government. It will give the landowner the chance to be heard if an actual taking has happened, and if the taking was for public use and if the owner received fair compensation.

There must be good faith negotiations with the landowner and the government, and fair compensation to be given, if an eminent domain action is about to commence. The landowner will first receive a letter of intent. Describing the property, this notice determines what it will be used for and what the monetary offer will be. Clearly, there will be a lot of negotiating at this critical point. A formal condemnation action[1] may be started if an agreeable compensation amount cannot be agreed upon.

Eminent Domain for Economic Development

For more than 50 years, Ohio law considered the promotion of economic development alone to be a public purpose warranting the exercise of eminent domain. But the law changed in 2007 to ensure that private property cannot be taken on the basis of economic development alone. Instead, the property involved must be deemed “blighted.” This change ensured that the public purpose for taking property on the basis of economic development is tied to the elimination of blight and the redevelopment of property for the public’s benefit.

Under Ohio law, a property can be considered “blighted” if it is unsafe for human habitation or use, poses a direct threat to public health or safety, or has unpaid taxes or assessments that exceed the fair value of the land. If an entire area is targeted to be taken through eminent domain[2], at least 70 percent of that area must be deemed blighted.

Contact an Ohio Condemnation Attorney

Landowners who believe they may be affected by eminent domain should contact an 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.


[1] http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/163[2]