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By Brian Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner- Holbrook & Manter & Jeffrey A. Easterday, Partner, Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth, LLP
Construction is all around us. Expansion projects, improvement efforts, new buildings taking shape — these types of things have become the norm. While we all want better infrastructure, the inconvenience of orange barrels can be dreadful. Bring on some additional dread when projects have a more personal impact and they come at the expense of your land.
Let’s take closer look at eminent domain, which is affecting more and more land owners. The Fifth Amendment states “… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The usual process of obtaining land through eminent domain includes passage of a resolution by the acquiring agency to take the property (condemnation), including a declaration of public need, followed by an appraisal and an offer, generally with some opportunity for negotiation. If the offer is not accepted, the agency may then file a petition in court to acquire the property by eminent domain. If the owner wishes to challenge the petition, the owner must file an answer in the court case in a timely manner. While it often seems to be the case that we are not happy as land owners with the initial offer, it is important to note that the government may become owner while litigation is on-going, if the amount of the offer is deposited into a trust account.
Full story here.
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