Eminent Domain: Fact And Fiction

The most common myth about eminent domain is that there is nothing you can do about it. Many people, when confronted by a powerful agency, acquiesce. But cities and governments must also operate under the law. And the law states that a property owner must be justly compensated.

Receiving Just Compensation Is Your Right

An attorney can ensure two things: first that the "taking" of the property is truly for the public good and second, that you attain truly fair compensation. This compensation not only considers the "fair market value" but also takes into account the damage incurred to the remaining property. A railroad, highway or large structure causes a significant decrease in the remaining property's value. This is rarely, if ever calculated into the "fair market value" by the governmental agency.

A Recent Case Highlights The Merits Of Effective Representation

In a recent case in Monterey, I represented a property owner who had a parcel of grazing land. Because of the location and beautiful views it offered, the land was ideal for development into a smaller residential subdivision with large lots. The city wanted to take a portion of the land and construct a water tank on it. The city offered the property owners $60,000 for the land to build the water tower. Not convinced that he was being paid what his property was actually worth what is termed "just compensation," the property owner hired me represent him.

I found that the city was under-bidding for the land and was not considering the damage that the water tower would create for the surrounding property. What was once a pristine site with a breathtaking vista was now dominated by a metal tower. I took the case to the city, stating the land was worth $500,000. The city responded by saying it did not have the funds to pay that much for the land. A settlement was worked out and the property owner got $150,000, more than twice the initial offer. Additionally, once the water tower was constructed, the land was actually more desirable to developers because they could use the water supplied by the tower could be used by developer.

Your Strongest Advocate For Private Property Owner's Rights

I am a dedicated eminent domain lawyer and your advocate in pursuing just compensation in an eminent domain purchase. Call the law firm of Robert J. Ernst III, Attorney at Law at 831-753-6125 or fill out the online contact form and I will contact you promptly. Serving all of Southern California in real estate law and eminent domain cases for over 30 years.