Skip to comments.EMINENT DOMAIN
Posted on 01/11/2011 8:45:38 AM PST by mamelukesabre
I just received a phone call from a government official telling me they are taking my property for a public works project and I have until 2012 to hand it over. Naturally they must buy it, but I don't want to sell. Does anyone have experience fighting eminent domain? Is it possible to fight it?
What kind of “public works” project is it?
Good luck. If they want it, they will take it.
I have personal experience. There is not much you can do.
My advice to you:
1. Hold out as long as you can.
2. Get more out of the land they want.
3 They will work with you if they think you are willing to sell.
They can legally deed your land to the state or rezone that land and take it from you.
That’s all I know. I hope it goes well.
These things are pretty tough for an individual to fight. It helps some if there are other affected property owners who can band together and make a lot of noise.
Elsewise, stock up on Vaseline.
More info, please.
What is the public works project? What state? What type of property?....
Depends on what it is they want to build.
If you have caller ID on your phone and still have the phone number, you might want to spend the time to track that phone number down to see who actually called you.
It does seem like you would get some kind of notification by registered mail or something.
If you are talking about a large property, you should get an attorney who is experienced in eminent domain issues. I’ve been through this.
If the issue is small, you might be able to handle it yourself. An attorney will take a percentage of the savings that he creates over and above what you could get on your own. In other words, let’s say you were able to bet $500,000 for your property that is taken. If the attorney can get $750,000, he would take a percentage of the $250,000 difference.
If your property is really small, then you might just pay an attorney for a couple hours of time. The attorney will be able to tell you if the govt can take your property or not.
The property is commercial property consisting of:
a shop with two overhead hoists and various equipment
couple storage sheds
small scrap yard(fenced in)
The public works project appears to be a sewage treatment plant but I’m not 100% on that. Something related to sewers.
Besides getting a good attorney, it is just as important to get a good appraiser. Your attorney will be able to recommend one.
To repeat: Treat everyone who calls you as a potential thief. They might be the most honest person in the world, but unless you can verify who you are talking to, never give out any information, not even for ‘verification purposes.’ Ask who they are, a number you can reach them at, and if you can reach them as well through the company’s 800 number that YOU look up.
Is that they're calling Pfizer production plants now?
Unless you are trolling:
More info...state, county, project description.
Notices typically come in mail.
No formal letter or notice? How do you even know who it’s really from?
After Kelo, it doesn’t matter - you’re out of luck. They can even take it over to hand it off to another PRIVATE party.
Make the best deal you can, and vote for senators and presidents who will appoint real jurists to the bench.
Secondly, sewage treatment or water treatment plants are usually overseen by water boards or water districts which may or may not have the actual powers of eminent domain. They may wave that sign around (and use a phone call, since you've no way of proving they actually called you) in hopes you'd sell out to them easily.
Or it could simply be a shyster realtor who is trying to quickly nab a piece of property to buy cheap and sell dear to the water board.
Details such as county, state could probably help the discussion here, as I'm sure there's more than a couple Freepers who wouldn't mind looking up the eminent domain laws in your area.
Any rail projects in your area?
Eminent domain was one of those minor details our resident choo-choophile never had the stones to discuss.
Posts 9 and 14 are spot on. Eminent domain is a legal proceeding initiated in most jurisdictions by a legislative determination to take a property for public use. The municipal attorneys office should notify you of that resolution and provide you with a copy of the resolution. Ultimately, the municipality will take your property and you cannot legally prevent them from doing so. They must pay you just compensation for the taking, which represents only the fair market value of the property the day before the announcement of the taking. It does not include moving costs, business losses, severance losses, etc.
You may be able to negotiate for a higher payment, which could provide additional compensation if you get a good attorney.
All that said, I cannot imagine any municipality that would inform affected property owners by telephone. Not only is such a call extraordinarily unpleasant to make (so that your average lazy bureaucrat would do everything possible to avoid it, including drafting the policies requiring notice by mail and forbidding phone contact) but also it creates a messy factual record if the taking ends in court.
Speaking of which, eventually the taking has to be filed in court, with service to all owners of the affected property. Again, not something that can or would be accomplished by a phone call.
99% likely you’re getting scammed. Call the municipal or county clerk’s office to confirm if you want fast answers.
You could purchase a historic property (old barn) and have it erected on your property - might work ...
First, what state are you in? Condimnation laws vary from state to state. In Michigan a state agency will pay your lawyer. the property has to be appraised and you are given a copy. The scope of the project will be fully explained to you. They also have to show need.
Ask who ever called for a set of condimnation rules and regs. Take your time and ask lots of questions.
This appears to be legit. The city wants to arrange a face to face meeting today or tomorrow. It does seem strange they are doing it this way to me as well. I would think there would be more than a year’s notice. I suspect there are shenanigans going on in the government. I am adjacent to a very large piece of property that is owned by a company that is owned by a company that is partly owned by the mayor. A couple years ago the city tried to pull a fast one and have the city streets around my property rezoned(if that’s the correct word, maybe vacated) to private property. there was a big condo project completed very nearby recently. There were rumors of plans to build a casino on the mayor’s property a few years ago but they couldn’t get casinos legalized. Last 5 years or so there’s been surveyors trampling around all summer every summer. continuous problems with power, telephone, etc. It’s all very suspicious. I’m close to the river here and I like it here. no traffic or neighbors to deal with.
“Usually overseen by water boards”?
Is that how they take it now, by “waterboarding”.
I guess we can blame Bush.
Since the Kelo v. New London decision some states have tightened up the laws on how eminent domain can be used. I would definitely check with a good attorney. Depending on where you live then you may be able to fight it.
You didn’t mention that earlier...how convenient after being challenged as the basis of a notice by mail. Care to post the notice with your name and parcel number redacted?
Until you do that - or specifically identify the project by name, state, county and city if applicable, I call troll.
I worked in local government for a number of years. Nothing of the magnitude of taking someone’s property under eminent domain was iniatated by a phone call. There is a legal process that must be followed.
I think you are the victim of a hoax. You would be notified by certified mail not via a phone call. There would also be published notices in the local paper regarding the proposed project.
What government official called you, holding what position, from what governmental entity? Property owners are not notified of an impending eminent domain action by telephone, they are notified by registered mail.
This process is lengthy, and can be fought regarding the value of the property. Simply not wanting to sell has no bearing if the process is implemented properly by the governmental entity having jurisdiction.
Off hand I will again go with scam. It takes a lot and I do mean a lot of property to support a sewage treatment plant. It also is a very long permitting process for a town to get the go ahead to build a sewer treatment plant. You are talking a multi permits required by State and Federal authorities having jurisdiction.
Do not fall for this B.S., call the police and report the fraud.
They are taking all the property in the area. not just mine. The guy on the phone identified himself as city public works. The business up the street told me he had a meeting with ten people from the city. They are taking his land and relocating his business. They are taking the land that I believe is owned by the mayor as well. I can’t prove the mayor owns it, at least not without a lot of research. I guess it’s not really a sewage treatment plant. it’s a storm water containment...or something. some new bullshit epa regs that storm water can’t be discharged into the rivers without some kind of treatment.
I will continue to assume these guys are crooks though, until they can prove to me otherwise. It’s possible they scammed the other property owners. but probably not likely.
mamelukesabre is not a troll, and has been around a lot longer on these boards than you. You haven’t been registered here for two months yet.
There would also be published notices in the local paper regarding the proposed project.
This is exactly what I thought and said to the other property owner. There is something definitely very strange going on.
For a n00b, you’re mighty quick to call someone a troll...
“You may want to contact the Pacific Legal Foundation because they have handled a number of property rights cases including those related to Eminent Domain.”
That is who I was going to recommend as well. Some others here:
Your town has to follow State statute and any applicable federal law when iniating (sp) eminent domain proceedings.
They do not get to make stuff up as they go along. All of these proceedings are or should be public record. All of these proceedings can be legally or adminsitratively challenged in the proper venues.
They also can not just take the property without first offering you compensation. That gets tricky since it usually is a game of he said she said appraisals. You need to hire or at least speak with an attorney who practices real estate law with a full knowledge of eminent domain matters.
Meanwhile don’t believe a word that comes out of any government official mouth unless he can back it up with an affidavit.
This is a neat technique I have heard... slate ED for a piece of property for “public works” obtain property, then cancel public works project, sell it to corporation of your choice.
Ever hear of “crosshairs?”
Wow, shocked at the method being used here. No paper trail for communication, a face to face meeting which anything could be testified to as to have happened (well, your honor, he agreed to sell the property to the city for a dollar, and he's trying to back out of it now, all of us were at the meeting and can verify it...) You need to find a property attorney who is not in the pocket of the mayor or his friends, and you need to direct all further contact to that attorney, and have him attend any meetings.
No project is done with out plans, budget, public hearings and Lawyers. No agency is going to just call.
Is it possible for me to be forced to sell without invoking eminent domain? I’m starting to wonder if they are trying to make me THINK I have to sell when I don’t really have to. I’m gonna keep an open mind for now and assume they are lying to me about something...which isn’t hard for me to do since I never trust government.
Your only hope is to find some endangered species on your property.
1. Still refuses to provide redacted notice.
2. Still refuses to identify project name, state, county and city if applicable.
3. Keeps providing anecdotal and “so and so told me!” details supporting his conjecture instead of the directly asked details that would verify that this is really happening.
Why not just ask for it on an official letterhead before doing anything?
A state legislator by the name of Howard Dean had a thing for bike
paths, and managed to push through a law retaking the
property for bike paths, and the then-mayor, one Bernie
Sanders, didn't complain.
It took about twenty years, but the guy did prevail in the USSC.
How can a phone call, which you say is very suspicious, appear to be legitimate?
You never trust govt, yet you trust someone on the phone that says thay are govt, to be legit?
The easy way is to go to your Town and talk to your Town Engineer.
They’re pulling one of these land scams in our town as I write.
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