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Unless you’re living in a self-imposed media blackout, you’ve heard about the Trump administration’s plans for a wall (or some sort of barrier) along the southern U.S. border. The president made the proposed wall a significant part of his campaign, but has yet to take action on his plan. In recent months, the issue, which had taken a backseat to other initiatives for the administration’s first two years, has recently reemerged as a priority, and political infighting regarding funding for the barrier has led to the current partial government shutdown.
The president has indicated his willingness to use eminent domain to seize land needed for the wall. A report published in USA Today indicated that almost 5,000 parcels of land could be seized or affected if the proposed barrier were built within 500 feet of the border. It is far from certain that the project will move forward, however, as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives needs to sign off on funding.
If the project does move forward and history is any guide, the eminent domain cases involving land along the border could get tied up in court for years—330 cases involving land seized pursuant to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, federal legislation mandating a fence along parts of the border, are still active in federal court.
If you’re a landowner who is facing an eminent domain action, you’re probably wondering if you can do anything to protect your land and your rights. The answer is yes—the best thing you can do as a landowner facing a condemnation action is to retain an experienced attorney to represent you as soon as possible.
Eminent domain allows the government to seize private property, so long as the seizure is for a public purpose and it provides the landowner just compensation. Because the government usually meets the public purpose requirement, most eminent domain disputes have to do with how much compensation the landowner is going to receive for the property.
In many cases, the initial offer made by the party seeking the land is significantly less than the actual value of the property. An attorney familiar with eminent domain actions can evaluate the value of your land and make sure that any offer you accept is sufficient. If the party seeking the land refuses to make a reasonable offer, your attorney can represent you in court and present evidence of your property’s value.
If you’re facing an eminent domain action, you don’t have to go it alone. The lawyers of Sever Storey have more than 25 years of experience helping landowners obtain just compensation for their property. To schedule a free case evaluation with an eminent domain lawyer, call our office today at (888) 318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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