Government, at any level, has the right to take title to a property that is required for legitimate public purpose. Highways, airports, schools and parks, and redevelopment of rundown areas are all example of legitimate public purpose. But should a landowner believe the government is taking land that is not required for legitimate public purpose, the landowner may object and challenge the decision. If the landowner is able to demonstrate that the government can achieve its purpose without the land, or that the project undertaken by the government does not benefit the general public, the government will not be allowed to take the land.
To challenge a proposed condemnation, a hearing is needed, and the court will decide whether the government’s purpose is legitimate.
Should the landowner lose at the hearing determining public purpose, the issue of equitable compensation still needs to be determined? Although the owner is allowed to testify about the value of the property taken, this really becomes a battle of the appraisers, who provide their opinions of the value of the property, and the jury who decides what the property will be valued at.
Damages can also be awarded for a wide variety of reasons and considerations.
For more information about taking property for public purposes contact Kallemeyn & Kallemeyn.