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According to a report published by the Indianapolis Star, the Indiana city of Fishers has begun the process of using eminent domain to seize 69 acres of land on Geist Reservoir to build a public park and beach. Geist Reservoir is the second largest man-made lake in Indiana and was formed by damming Fall Creek in 1943.
The Star reports that the city of Fishers filed papers in Hamilton County Superior Court to initiate eminent domain and that a judge has approved an independent appraisal of the property at Olio Road and 113th Street. Marina Limited Partnership and Irving Materials Inc. rejected an offer of $9,710,000 made by the city, according to court papers. The city plans to start construction on the park in 2019.
Under Indiana law, the government is entitled to seize land for a public purpose so long as it provides landowners from whom land is seized with “just compensation” for their property. Over the years, courts have taken an expansive view towards the public purpose requirement—to the extent that nearly every proposed exercise of eminent domain is upheld. In fact, in Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the taking of private property and its sale to a private developer as part of an economic development plan as a “public use.”
As a result of this broad definition of a public use, most eminent domain disputes focus on the requirement that the condemning authority provides the property owner with just compensation. While just compensation is generally taken to mean “fair market value,” significant disagreements can ensue regarding the fair market value of a particular property. For this reason, it is extremely important for anyone whose property is the subject of an eminent domain action to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your case and ensure that any offer you accept adequately compensates you for the property being seized. If the condemning authority is unwilling or unable to make an adequate offer for the property, your attorney may file an inverse condemnation lawsuit to ensure that you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled under the law.
Landowners have a legal right to obtain just compensation for property that is taken pursuant to an exercise of eminent domain. Unfortunately, all too often landowners accept offers that are far less than the value of their properties because they are uncertain about to how to stand up for their rights. At Sever Storey, we focus our practice on making sure that landowners are treated fairly and that they obtain the compensation to which they are entitled under the law. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call Sever Storey today at (888) 318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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