According to a report in the Northwest Herald, in early September, Fox River Grove’s village board voted to start the process of acquiring 10 properties located off of Northwest Highway by using eminent domain. The area in question is bordered by Lincoln Avenue, Illinois Street, and Northwest Highway, and sits across the street from a Metra station.
In 2015, the village approved a special use permit for a $250 million redevelopment project that fell through because of financing issues. That project was supposed to create retail space, commercial space, a hotel or marina, and 500 new apartments. The village had since tried to purchase the properties but could not reach agreements with the property owners. The properties in question are considered blighted, and village board trustee Steve Knar has said that the buildings are functionally obsolete. In addition, Knar stated that they “are not up to date with retail standards” and that “no one wants to come into them.”
The government must have a public purpose for private property to use eminent domain. In addition, the government must provide the landowner with just compensation for the property. Because courts have taken an extremely expansive view of the public purpose requirement, most attempted exercises of eminent domain are valid. This means that landowners facing eminent domain typically focus on trying to get as much compensation for the land as possible rather than trying to fight the exercise of eminent domain itself.
Not surprisingly, the initial offers made by the government are often less than the amount landowners think that their properties are worth. Of course, property owners are free to engage in negotiations and can even refuse to sell, potentially forcing the government to go to court to exercise eminent domain and force the landowner to sell.
Any landowner who is facing the forced sale of property should retain an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer familiar with eminent domain law can demonstrate how much a piece of land is actually worth, both in the negotiation process and in court. In many eminent domain cases, landowners who retain legal counsel obtain significantly increase the money they receive. In addition, at Sever Storey, we only collect legal fees on the amount that we negotiate above your initial offer. For example, if the government initially offered $300,000 and we were able to negotiate a sale price of $400,000, we would only collect our 33 percent fee on $100,000, leaving you with $367,000.
If you believe that your property is subject to an eminent domain action in the near future, or if you already received an offer, retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey are committed to helping landowners get the compensation they deserve for their properties. To schedule a free case evaluation with an eminent domain lawyer in Illinois, call our office today at (888) 318-3761 or contact us online.
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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