Eminent Domain Takings For Private Development
The government has the right to take your property under eminent domain so long as it is necessary for public use and the government provides you just compensation. However, the government has a history of abusing this process – also known as “condemnation” or “land condemnation” – by taking property to give to private developers.
There have been examples of eminent domain takings that involve the government condemning private property to give to private developers throughout the country. The Institute for Justice in Washington compiled a report that documented dozens of such instances, including:
- In Atlantic City, a middle-class neighborhood was condemned so that private developers could build a tunnel to a new casino.
- In Bremerton, Washington, the government seized the home of a woman in her 80s (who had lived in the home for 55 years), claiming that the property would be used to expand a sewer plant. The property was given to an auto dealership instead.
Unfortunately, there are many more such examples throughout the country.
Law For Eminent Domain Takings
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that governments could take property that was “blighted” to improve them as a “public use.” That ruling – Berman v. Parker – laid the foundation for eminent domain and private development.
Many properties that were standing in the way of private development have simply been declared “blighted” so that the government could take them. In one town, authorities declared any homes in the area that did not have at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached two-car garage to be “blighted” in order to make room for the construction of a new high-rise condo.
More recently, Kelo v. City of New London established the government’s power to condemn properties for private redevelopment. The city, which was struggling with a depressed tax base and a diminishing population, seized property near a newly constructed Pfizer plant to turn into offices, condominiums and shops to attract new businesses and jobs.
The homeowners challenged the eminent domain takings of their property, but the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against them. Pfizer eventually closed its plant, and the business and retail complex was not built.
Many thought the court granted the government overly broad powers of eminent domain, and legislators in 40 states across the country enacted more stringent eminent domain laws, limiting government power. The federal government also passed legislation that limited eminent domain takings for private development.
In North Carolina, legislation was passed in 2006 that limited the use of eminent domain for private redevelopment only if property was classified as “blighted.”
North Carolina Condemnation Lawyers
Don’t accept the government’s reasoning for taking your property. If you have been notified that your property is being targeted for condemnation, call a North Carolina condemnation lawyer at the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm to find out if we can help you. We may be able to challenge the case based on the classification of your property being “necessary” or for “public use,” or may be able to get you compensation that is truly just.
Call 877-393-4990 right now for a free evaluation of your case. Our North Carolina eminent domain lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that if we don’t get you any additional compensation over what the government has offered you, we don’t get an attorney’s fee.