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Examples of “Public Use” in a Condemnation Action

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The 5th Amendment2 gives the government the power to take private lands under specific conditions. One of the most important conditions is that the purpose of the taking must be for “public use.” While public use previously meant actually used by the public – such as public parks or roadways – the term has been reinterpreted by the courts in the past 11 years to refer to projects that may benefit the public, and even a small sector of the community. As the interpretation of “public use” extends to more and more purposes, it is important to take a look at some common examples of public uses that lead to eminent domain actions.

Parks, schools, roads, and other government projects – These are the epitome of public uses as likely originally intended in the Constitution. These projects are to better the community and provide resources for the actual use of the public in the community.

Pipelines and utilities – While utility companies are often private entities, their services are a public necessity and many states have laws that specifically grant eminent domain powers to utility companies to lay wire, pipelines for natural gas, power lines, and more. When it comes to pipelines for oil built by private companies, it is often examined on a case-by-case basis whether there is a valid public use.

Commercial developments – The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the case of Kelo v. New London2 that commercial developments could qualify as a public use if they benefited the community, such as by providing tax revenue, jobs, or other economic development.

Call Our Ohio Eminent Domain Attorneys for Assistance Today

Eminent domain can be a confusing topic for everyone and especially for landowners facing a possible condemnation action. It can be challenging to know your rights and to understand how to protect them. The good news is that the skilled condemnation lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP are here to help you. We offer free consultations, so please do not hesitate to call us at 888-318-3761 for more information about our legal services.

 

1https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fifth_amendment

2https://www.oyez.org/cases/2004/04-108

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Before going alone against the State let us give you our opinion. It is our pledge that we will provide a free case review for any individual or business facing eminent domain or condemnation. Contact us now at 888-318-3761

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