The U.S. Constitution allows for the governmental taking of private property for public use, but only after "just compensation" is paid. This is known as eminent domain. This process may seem wholly unfair, and in some instances that is the case. However, eminent domain can be challenged in a number of ways. One way is to question whether private property is truly being taken for public use. Another commonly contested matter is what constitutes "just compensation."
Ohio residents enjoy the control they retain over their property. Yet, in what seems like the blink of an eye, the government can swoop in and try to claim that property for its own use through eminent domain. Of course, there are restrictions on when the government can do this, as it has to be in furtherance of the public good. Additionally, the government must give the landowner fair compensation for the land that is being claimed. These matters may seem pretty straightforward, but they give rise to a lot of contentious litigation.
Land is amongst some people's most prized possessions. For some, it carries tremendous value that is either sentimental or financial in nature. In the best cases, it holds both types of value. Many Ohio residents plan to hold onto their land to pass on to future generations, while others are holding out for the right market to sell and make a significant profit. This seems like how the system should work, but the government can step in, and through the use of eminent domain, they can derail a landowner's rights.
As we've discussed previously on this blog, eminent domain involves governmental taking of property for the public good in exchange for just compensation. Oftentimes in these matters there is dispute as to whether or not the taking is for the public good and whether or not just compensation is being provided. When disputes over these issues arise it is critical that the matter be taken to court, as eminent domain allows for the taking of property with or without consent.One of these disputes is occurring right here in Ohio and is headed to court. The lawsuit centers around property currently being leased by a private country club. The land that the golf course is on was originally leased from the Ohio Historical Society in 1907, then was renewed in 1997 for another 50 years. So, the current lease does not expire until 2078. However, the Historical Society, now known as the Ohio History Connection, now wants to end that lease, utilize eminent domain to take the property, and convert the 135 acre property into a public park. The group says that doing so will allow the property to be nominated as a World Heritage site.Here, the issue is not whether the taking is in furtherance of the public good, but rather whether the Historical Connection is offering to pay just compensation. Executives at the country club say that the payment amount that has been offered is not enough for it to relocate its business and its 100 employees. They therefore fear significant financial losses and the loss of numerous jobs.It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. There is obviously a lot at stake, which is why the parties to this case, and similar ones, need to ensure they have a strong legal advocate on their side.
Eminent domain is the process whereby the government takes private property, even against an Ohio property owner's wishes, in exchange for compensation. In order for the taking to be legal under eminent domain, though, the proposed use must be for public use. An example of eminent domain would be the government paying fair market value for a piece of land so that it can expand a highway.
A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed the basics of eminent domain. This is a legal issue that many people don't think about until it directly affects them. Even the seemingly smallest bit of land taken by the government can have enormous ramifications, though, which is why those who are confronted with issues of eminent domain need to know the law and how to utilize it to their advantage.
Ohio residents who buy property expect to be able to use that land as they see fit. There can be limits to this use, though, such as when one becomes part of a homeowner's association. However, even in these circumstances an individual retains ownership of his or her property. Sometimes, though, the government can swoop in and take one's property either with the owner's permission or without it. The government's power to exercise this taking for the furtherance of public good is known as eminent domain.