Eminent Domain and Land Use
Occasionally a governmental entity or private one given authorization by the government, may submit a condemnation notice for eminent domain use. Eminent domain is a power given to state and federal governments to take land for public use. At times there are disputes over land use rights under the eminent domain law (Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code), and you may want to secure the assistance of a Bryan real estate attorney if you are involved in such a case.
The purpose of eminent domain is to serve the greater good of the public. For instance, if a freeway is being constructed, the land it will utilize needs to be obtained through condemnation for the purpose of eminent domain if this land is privately owned. Some other examples of such land use are:
- Construction of a bridge or railroad line
- Installation of sewer lines, power lines, or gas lines
- Building of a large commercial enterprise, such as a shopping center or ball park
At times whole communities can be affected by a condemnation ruling. In California, a community called Chavez Ravine was entirely seized to build a baseball stadium. This led to substantial litigation, but in the end the law of eminent domain won out.
Landowners are guaranteed by Texas law to receive fair compensation for any land taken through eminent domain. At times only a portion of a property needs to be used. If the government offers less than the landowner feels is adequate compensation, a civil suit may take place.
Seizing the Land
In order for the government or entity to seize or condemn the land in question for other use, adequate notice must be given to all affected parties. If the landowner and entity are not able to agree upon adequate compensation, or disagree on some other merit, a petition must be filed in Texas district and county courts. The petition must include the following:
- Description of the property to be seized
- Name of the property's owner
- Purpose for which the land is to be used
- State the reason for which the landowner and entity cannot agree upon terms
If You Are Facing Condemnation through Eminent Domain
It is important that you understand you have rights under Texas law. It may be in your best interests to work with a Bryan real estate attorney if you wish to dispute a condemnation order. Call Peterson Law Group for a consultation at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.