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The Negative Side of Kaufman and Rockwall County Growth: Eminent Domain

EasttexasEminent Domain and Condemnation is the process by which the city, county, state, or private utility or other statutorily granted entity, may come in and force you to sell all or part of your property to them under the guise of a public need. For the purposes of this article, the party claiming a public need will be called a “state actor”.

Although it is a fairly complicated process, the state actor will institute negotiations with the property owner in an attempt to purchase the property outright without actually entering into the “eminent domain” process.

Under Texas law, there are three elements required to show for eminent domain:  (1) The actor must be the state or a private entity authorized to condemn; (2) the property must be taken for public use; and (3) the landowner must receive adequate compensation for the condemned property.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A “PUBLIC USE”?

In order for property to be condemned, it must be taken for “public use.”   A public use is defined as the “ownership, use and enjoyment of the property by the State, a political subdivision of the state, or the public at large, or an entity granted the power of eminent domain under law, or the elimination of urban blight.”  Essentially, the facts of each case will determine the “public use” in each instance, and the agency or entity will be required to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it falls within this broad definition.

SO, WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS?

The state actor is required to give you a written offer before they may enter judicial proceedings. So, the state actor will send you a notice or written offer for the property very early on in the process. The state actor will present you with an appraisal that was done by one of their own appraisers that they have used numerous times in the past. When that happens, you are going to feel like that is the amount you have to take. IT IS NOT. The state actor is required to pay you Fair Market Value for your property. Even if they are only taking a portion of the property, they are required to value the property, as a whole, and pay you fair market value for the portion of land they are taking.

LOCAL KAUFMAN AND ROCKWALL AREA ISSUES

In the Kaufman county and Rockwall county areas, and parts of Southeast Dallas county, many cities, as well as TxDot, are instituting eminent domain and condemnation proceedings ahead of the highway 190 projects and other projects that are going in. Majority of the newer cases we are seeing in our office stem from widening out the highways and side streets, as well as the impending highway 190 project.

GuestandGrayLogoIf you have been contacted about selling your property ahead of an eminent domain or condemnation proceeding, you need to speak with the local, trusted law firm of Guest and Gray, P.C. We are the highest rated law firm in Rockwall and Kaufman counties and our success stems directly from the results we get for our clients. Don’t wait until you are behind the eight-ball. Call Guest and Gray today! Consultations are free and we offer contingency fee agreements to clients in certain instances to ensure that our clients can receive the representation they need in order to get the compensation they deserve for their land.

Why wait? CALL TODAY! (972) 564-4644