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An eminent domain case that has dragged on since early 2017 might come to a close soon. Two years ago, the Illinois town of Mundelein tried to purchase land from the owner of a recycling plant to begin a new housing development. The plant owner did not agree to sell, so the town voted to use eminent domain to obtain the land. Town officials stated that industrial property no longer fits in Mundelein’s downtown area, and the community would benefit much more from residential or commercial development on that land.
However, in the years since, the town and the recycling plant owner have not reached a settlement agreement regarding just compensation for the taking. Previous negotiations involved compensation of $1.37 million for the 1.8 acres. However, the owner had trouble finding a new location for the recycling plant, so he wanted to explore other solutions, such as renting the property until he could relocate. The town refused to agree, and negotiations once again fell through.
The parties recently each met separately with the judge overseeing the case. The judge talked to the parties, who then resumed negotiations. According to reports, the judge pressured each side to meet the other in the middle, avoiding the need for a trial. While they did not announce a settlement, the parties seemed optimistic that they could make a deal before their trial date.
Many people voluntarily accept purchase offers from the government because they are afraid of having to go to court. However, the initial offers are usually much lower than property owners deserve. If you receive a low offer, you always have the right to refuse, even if you know that the government will use its eminent domain powers to take the land.
The government can get a court order to take your land, though you still have a say in what happens in your case. An essential part of any eminent domain action is that property owners must receive just compensation for the land they lose. If you do not voluntarily agree to an amount, the court will have to make the decision about how much it considers just. For this reason, the legal process of eminent domain often works to protect the rights of property owners, so long as they stand their ground.
Consult an experienced condemnation lawyer if a government official approaches you to purchase your land. Often, they are hoping you do not know your rights and that you will simply accept whatever they offer. We can advise you of what the law entitles you to in your situation, which is often a lot more than what the government has to offer.
If you have condemnation concerns in Illinois or anywhere in the United States, call the lawyers at Sever Storey as soon as possible. Call (888) 318-3761 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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