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The Akron Beacon Journal is reporting that an Ohio bar and its landlord are suing the city of Akron, alleging that a noisy and dusty sewer project adjacent to the property has caused a loss of business. According to the report, the plaintiffs are arguing that the disruption of business constitutes a taking, entitling them to compensation.
The complaint alleges that the city blocked off access to Paul Williams Street, an alley that provided access to the building occupied by the bar and owned by the landlord. The landlord stopped collecting $5,000 in rent to keep its sole tenant. In addition, the construction site has created a 166-foot deep and 45-foot wide hole behind the bar, and the project produces constant construction noise. The report indicates that the construction is related to the massive Ohio Canal Interceptor Project, a tunnel designed to capture and transport sewer and dry weather overflow from nine locations in downtown Akron.
Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property without the consent of a landowner. To exercise this power, however, the government must have a public purpose and provide the landowner with just compensation for the property. Some states may authorize certain private parties, like utility companies, to exercise eminent domain.
Clearly, when the government comes along and uses eminent domain to seize a parcel of land in total, a taking has occurred. But what about in cases like this, where government action has not actually taken a property but has allegedly damaged its usefulness? Not surprisingly, courts have weighed in on this question and determined that when government action hurts the value of a property, a taking has occurred.
These are generally considered “partial takings,” meaning that the landowner may not recover the full value of the property—just the reduction in value caused by the government action. Partial takings can present extremely complicated issues, however, so landowners who believe that government action decreased the value of their properties must speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
If someone approached you about a potential eminent domain action that could affect your property, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Sever Storey, we’re committed to making sure that landowners get just compensation for their property and do not hesitate to challenge an eminent domain action if it is warranted.
The lawyers of Sever Storey are available to discuss your case at no cost to you and will only collect legal fees if we recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call Sever Storey today at (888) 318-3761 or contact us online.
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