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A fairly unique situation in an Ohio city is drawing attention to the use of eminent domain to take private property for a public purpose.
Eminent domain1 is the power of the government (and private entities, in some cases) to take private property and use it for a public purpose. Common uses of land taken through an exercise of eminent domain include roads, school, utilities, airports, or even real estate development.
In Zanesville, there are two vacant lots on 512 Beckwith Street that were purchased by Clarence and Margaret Barnett Holbert in 1984. Clarence passed away in 1999, and Margaret in 2014. The property has an appraised value of around $1,000.
The city needs to use the property to construct a new water tower while using an existing water tower on a nearby property. According to the Zanesville Law Director, David Tarbert, the city was able to purchase other houses and lots needed for the project but must purchase the Holbert’s property in order to proceed.
There is one issue keeping the project from moving forward, however: the city has been unable to locate potential heirs to the property. Numerous attempts to locate any potential heirs have been made by the city and by an independent appraisal company. If none are found, the city will move forward with an eminent domain proceeding in order to take the property.
According to Mr. Tarbert, this is a relatively infrequent situation and is remarkably complicated for a piece of property with such low value.
The information contained in this blog post was adapted from a story2 published on September 26 in the Zanesville Times Recorder.
If your property is the subject of an eminent domain proceeding or has already been condemned, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Ohio eminent domain attorney may be able to challenge the eminent domain action and also make sure that you receive just compensation for your property. To schedule a free consultation 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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