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The complicated feelings around eminent domain

If you have recently been presented with an offer from a government entity to purchase your land, you may be struggling with a great number of emotions. It can be a complicated decision to decide to sell, or you may ultimately have no choice.

Cases of eminent domain are often complicated, and your strong feelings can affect your decisions to negotiate for your land. By understanding these emotions, you can help decide what is best for your case.

Negative emotions you may expect

It is normal to feel upset or defensive over your property. Your property may be a valued family inheritance, or perhaps you feel belittled or devalued by the very government you trusted to protect you.

You may be feeling that this is an invasion of community. It might feel like this outside entity is an unstoppable force or a greedy hand determined to change the landscape of your community. You might feel like someone is trying to erase part of your personal or community history.

These feelings are valid and common in your situation. However, these are often complicated by considering the positive effects a public project could create.

Positive thought you may be considering

The condemning authorities are probably requesting your land because they truly cannot complete their project without it. Their outright efforts are probably not to split a community apart, for example with a road project, but they also might undervalue your property to save on cost.

Many public projects can lead to positive community transformations. These can be any of the following:

  • Improve roads
  • Replace unsafe bridges
  • Create a railway for transportation of people or goods
  • Expand schools or airports
  • Lay a pipeline or transmission line for needed resources

These projects could create jobs that would bolster the economy, grow and diversify neighborhoods and improve living conditions for families in the community. However, they can also negatively affect resale value, divide the community or irreversibly interrupt or contaminate the natural landscape.

The key to an eminent domain case is that you feel justly compensated for the land you are relinquishing. If you are worried that you have been offered a low-ball deal or have been forced out of your property, it is important to know your legal options under federal and Ohio state law.

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