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Eminent domain may be used for many reasons. In addition to pipeline use, private lands may be condemned for any reason that constitute a “public use. The horrific flooding in Houston and surrounding areas illustrates that flood control is an important public concern for many localities across the United States.
According to news reports, Findlay, Ohio, has flooded 15 times since 2000, including an 18.5-foot flood in 2007. The most recent flooding was in July.
To address the problem, the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District has enacted plans to widen the Blanchard River and to construct three large basins to store excess floodwater in Hancock County. The river-widening plan is underway. The storage basin construction required various utility easements and the land from two private property owners to proceed. The easement did not present a problem, but the two landowners have been fighting against the taking of their land for the flood control project.
The landowners reportedly claimed that the conservancy district did not have the right to take the land and did not follow eminent domain procedures according to Ohio state law. The district court case has not yet been resolved.
One of the two properties mentioned above was almost completely flooded in July. You may wonder why this landowner is persistently fighting the eminent domain action for flood control if her land floods. However, the wrongful condemnation of land is a violation of an owner’s constitutional rights. All eminent domain actions should be in line with the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as respective state law.
Most condemnation cases concern the value of the land and the amount of compensation paid to the landowner. However, some cases involve a direct challenge to the eminent domain action. Such challenges can involve claims such as:
-The taking is not for public use
-The land is not necessary for the project
-More land is being sought than is needed
-The entity seeking the land does not have eminent domain power under the law
These cases can be very complex. You should always consult with a highly-skilled eminent domain attorney who can identify the arguments to make in your case.
Entities seeking land for public projects are held to high standards under the law. To ensure your rights as a landowner are protected, you should be represented by a law firm that regularly handles eminent domain cases and fully understands state and federal laws on that subject. The condemnation lawyers at Sever Storey not only help landowners in Ohio, but also throughout the U.S. Call us today at 888-318-3761.
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