New law could prevent park districts from using eminent domain

| Jul 5, 2021 | Eminent Domain |

A bill sent to the Ohio governor for approval recently is set to protect property rights in some cases of eminent domain.

What is the new law?

The state budget bill has been approved by both the House and the Senate and is now with the governor. If approved, it would prevent park districts from using eminent domain in a county of 220,000 to 240,000 people to create recreational trails. These trails include those for hiking, horseback riding, ski touring, bicycling, canoeing, or other types of non-motorized recreation. If the new law passes, it will be in effect for five years.

The new law’s application

If the law passes, a park district in Mahoning County will not be able to use eminent domain to get land for its bike trail. Metroparks has negotiated prices with six of the twelve people affected by the trail in the last few years that it has been trying to acquire land. However, the project has been resisted by some of the landowners, one of whom has equated the process with theft. Another landowner was recently awarded more money through the court system than what Metroparks was offering him. Detractors of the bill claim it is likely unconstitutional, as it restricts the constitutional right of eminent domain.

Just compensation is one of the most common concerns when a property owner is worried about eminent domain. Since the laws surrounding it are so complex, it might be helpful to consult an experienced attorney for guidance on one’s legal options.