Preserved farmland may be protected from eminent domain in Ohio

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Eminent Domain |

Ohioans who find themselves at odds with government entities over their land might be surprised to discover that eminent domain laws even exist. The concept of the government deciding to take a person’s property may be foreign and sound like an overreaching of authority. However, it is part of the law and happens relatively frequently. Even if the reason for the taking of a person’s private land through eminent domain makes sense and is even necessary for public use as a road, those who do not want to surrender the land should be aware of their rights.

Court rejects gas company’s bid for eminent domain

One recent case involving preserved farmland and eminent domain. Ultimately, it was decided in the owner’s favor.

In this case, a gas company sought the farmland for a pipeline. However, the farmland was preserved. The case is not completely over as the decision left room for eminent domain based on easements not preventing it. Still, the judge suggested the sides negotiate further. Some requirements must be in place for eminent domain and easements. An easement lets the land be used for sewer lines, electric lines and other uses that will cross a person’s property.

The dispute has been ongoing for nearly two years. The gas company does not have easements for the whole route it plans to use. Other owners in the area who are trying to fight losing their land to eminent domain do not have agricultural easements as the owners in this specific legal ruling do, but they also have had rulings go in their favor. Those cases are being appealed by the gas company. The land itself has been protected for almost two decades.

Can farmland preservation be used in other eminent domain cases?

Farmland can be preserved in agricultural easements, but there might still be a dispute over eminent domain. In Ohio, the landowner will agree with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and preserve the land for agricultural use. It cannot be used for non-agricultural development. The objective is to maintain the farmland for future owners. There are specific requirements for the land to be eligible. For example, it must have at least 40 acres except in cases where it is bordering preserved farmland when it can be 25 acres. The state and federal agricultural laws must have been adhered to for the prior five years.

Whether it is farmland or other types of property, eminent domain can be worrisome

It can be shocking for property owners when they are confronted with eminent domain. Those who own farmland should keep track of cases in which people successfully fought against eminent domain through farmland preservation. Perhaps that could be an effective strategy to avoid having the land taken through eminent domain. For this and other issues related to this somewhat confusing area of the law, it is imperative to have professional advice.