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When your city or state wants your property to build a highway or another public works project, you do not simply have to hand over your ownership rights. The law requires that you receive just compensation for any land taken, and the government does not get to simply dictate how much is “just.” Instead, property owners have the right to negotiate the value of their land and even take the matter to court if needed.
The owners of the American Inn in Danville, Illinois, are exercising their rights to negotiate with the city, which wants to tear down the motel to construct a green space as part of its East Main Street Corridor Project. The city offered to purchase the motel and the owners claimed they would consider selling—but only for the right price.
From its appearance, you may assume the property is not worth that much. However, as the owners told news sources, they want a fair appraisal and survey as they suspect the property is worth much more than the city is offering. According to reports, a potentially historic underground tunnel connects the motel to downtown Danville. In addition, seven of the 37 rooms are occupied by full-time residents, which could constitute guaranteed income for the motel for the foreseeable future. Eminent domain would force the full-time residents to relocate and find another affordable housing situation if the plan moves forward. All in all, the owners may claim the motel is worth substantially more than the city may offer.
If the owners and the city cannot reach an agreement on a selling price, the city of Danville has expressed willingness to use eminent domain powers to take the land. If this happens, the city can file a lawsuit and request a court order to take the land. Part of that case, however, will involve deciding what constitutes just compensation for the property.
Landowners often may not know themselves the value of their own properties or they may trust that the government will make a fair offer. If you receive an offer for your property, always discuss the matter with an experienced eminent domain attorney. Do not believe that you have to turn over your land or that you can only hire a lawyer after the government files an eminent domain lawsuit. The advice and negotiation skills of the right condemnation lawyer can often ensure you receive the compensation you deserve without having to go to court at all. If the case does make it to court, representation by a lawyer who understands the rules and procedures of condemnation litigation can significantly increase the money you receive for your property.
The law office of Sever Storey represents landowners in negotiations and eminent domain cases throughout Illinois and the nation. If the government has approached you about selling your property, do not hesitate to discuss the matter with one of our experienced eminent domain attorneys. Call (888) 318-3761 or contact us online today.
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