If you are involved in an eminent domain or condemnation case in the State of Texas, let The Law Firm of Corbin Snow put their combined 70+ years of experience to work for you.
Our Texas eminent domain lawyers possess the legal knowledge, creativity, innovative spirit, resources and experience to help you reach a desired resolution.
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Understanding Eminent Domain
Eminent domain is the right of the government or its agent to take away private property for public use with payment of compensation. In other words, the government does not need the property owner’s consent to seize land if needed for public use, but it must appraise the property to determine and offer fair compensation. The practice of such takings is not unique to the United States, although it goes by other names in other countries such as compulsory purchase or expropriation.
Another term important to understand when discussing eminent domain is “condemnation.” Condemnation is the legal process used to transfer title to the property from its private owner to the government.
Reasons the government may invoke eminent domain include building public roads, creating municipal parks, constructing schools, or providing utilities. The power of condemnation is not limited to the government. Private entities may have the power of eminent domain if allowed by the law and if used for a project that has been deemed for public use. For example, private companies can force the sale of private property for oil and gas pipelines in some situations. In blighted or deteriorated areas that present a threat to public safety, the government also has the right to take property through eminent domain.
There are three types of takings under eminent domain. The first, a physical taking, means the government or its agent undertakes physical occupation of the property. The second, regulatory taking, means that the government has placed restrictions on the uses of property perhaps for environmental reasons. In this instance, the private owners may maintain physical ownership of the land. A third example of taking under eminent domain is that of land-use exactions. A land-use exaction is compensation that a development is required to cede to the government before constructing a new structure or putting land to a new use. This compensation can come in several different forms, including a payment to the government or the allowance of an easement on the property to be developed.
Land owners can fight an eminent domain claim. Lawyers can help a private land owner to ensure just compensation if the government’s offer is below fair market value. Once the administrative proceeding is complete, the property owner may file objections with the court disputing the findings in the administrative proceeding. Upon the filing of objections, the legal jurisdiction of the court is invoked and the matter is handled as a civil case.