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CBS 4 Indy is reporting that a group calling itself Yorktown United staged a vigil outside of a town council meeting on November 19 to protest the town’s plans to demolish a neighborhood near Morrow’s Meadow. The town’s plan to raze the homes to develop a downtown area has raised the ire of residents, many of whom feel that the plan will unfairly displace older adults and families who have lived in the area for years.
One resident, 81-year-old Janice Ross, did not respond to an appraisal notice because she did not want to sell. The next communication received was a notice for eminent domain. In that case, Delaware County Circuit Court Judge ruled in favor of the town, upholding the exercise of eminent domain to force a sale of her property.
Unfortunately for the residents of the Yorktown neighborhood, Judge Dowling’s ruling does not bode well for their efforts to stop the town from moving forward with the project. The reality of the situation is that courts uphold the vast majority of attempted exercises of eminent domain. A valid exercise of eminent domain must serve a public purpose. In addition, the condemning authority (the party exercising eminent domain) must provide the landowner with just compensation for the property.
Courts have taken an expansive view of what constitutes a public purpose in the context of eminent domain, which means the only thing that courts need to determine in most eminent domain actions is the amount that qualifies as just compensation. This is why landowners should retain legal counsel, even if they do not think they can challenge, or plan to challenge, the eminent domain action itself.
As a homeowner, you only have one chance to settle your case for what your property is worth., so hire an experienced eminent domain attorney to protect your legal rights. Governments, utility companies, and other parties that can exercise eminent domain will try to get your property for as little as possible, so let them know you are serious and will take them to court if they don’t make a reasonable settlement offer. Best of all, with our free consultations and fee structure, you can only recover more compensation by retaining an attorney, never less.
If you are a homeowner whose property is affected by this or another redevelopment project, speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can. At Sever Storey, we have more than 25 years of combined legal experience and know how to get our clients the just compensation they deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our eminent domain attorneys, call Sever Storey today at (888) 318-3761 or contact us online.
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