"Eminent Domain" refers to the inherent right of the government to take private property for a public use. "Condemnation" is the legal process used for such a taking. While the government has this vast power, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 17, of the Texas Constitution guarantee that a property owner will receive just compensation for the taking. If the government and property owner cannot agree on that compensation then, ultimately, they are entitled to have the judicial system determine it based on the law.
Under eminent domain law, the government only has the right to take the property for a legitimate public use. This means property can be taken to build a public road, to create a municipal park, to construct a school or public library, or to provide utilities. However, the power of condemnation is not limited to the government. Private entities also sometimes have the power of eminent domain if allowed by the law and if used for a project that has been deemed to be effectively a public use. For instance, private companies can force the sale of private property for oil and gas pipelines in some situations if used to further a common carrier function.
In blighted or deteriorated areas that present a threat to public safety, the government also has the right to take some property through eminent domain. But this right is limited.
How Does Eminent Domain Work?
The government’s taking of private property is referred to as condemnation. Condemnation does not mean that there is anything wrong with your property or that is being condemned as unsafe or labeled as a tear-down. Condemnation simply means that the government is exercising its right of eminent domain.
When the government determines that it will use eminent domain to take your property, it must appraise the property to determine fair compensation.
When the government makes an offer, you have the choice to accept or decline the offer. Declining the offer does not mean that you are entitled to keep your property; the government can still force the taking. However, our Texas eminent domain lawyers can help you present your opinions of what constitutes just and adequate compensation and that the government’s offer is below fair market value.
When Can You Fight Eminent Domain?
Stopping the condemnation altogether can be a challenge and is not always possible. In some instances, however, you can prevent the government from taking your property by proving that the government is not taking it for a legitimate public use. A Texas eminent domain attorney is essential to successfully stopping the condemnation since it can be difficult to prove that the government is acting improperly. Sometimes condemnations are stopped when the taking authority realizes the actual cost to acquire that will be involved.
Contact the Eminent Domain Attorneys at Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, LLP
If you are facing a regulatory taking, condemnation or other eminent domain action in Texas, contact the Texas eminent domain lawyers at Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, LLP, to learn how we can help. Our condemnation attorneys have represented more clients throughout Texas on more projects than any other firm and our attorneys are experts in the field of eminent domain.
News & Resources
Magellan Pipeline Announces 140 Miles of New Pipeline
August 2, 2018
Magellan Midstream Partners announced it will be expanding the west portion of its refined petroleum products pipeline system in Texas.
LCRA Announces New Mountain Home Transmission Powerline Project in Gillespie and Kerr Counties
July 23, 2018
The LCRA recently held an open house to announce and discuss a new 138kV transmission power line project serving the Mountain Home Substation. The powerline, which would be constructed with weathered steel or concrete monopoles, is expected to extend roughly 20 miles. The LCRA is currently preparing an application to the Public Utility Commission to determine the route of the new powerline.
New Permian Highway Pipeline Announced by Kinder Morgan
June 27, 2018
Kinder Morgan has announced plans to construct a gas pipeline connecting the Permian Basin to Houston, Corpus Christi, and hubs in Mexico. The 430 mile pipeline, dubbed the Permian Highway Pipeline, will be a joint venture between Kinder Morgan and Midland-based EagleClaw Midstream and is expected to cost $2 billion to construct. The pipeline is expected to be in operation by 2020.
Pipeline Bottleneck in the Permian Basin Leads to Shut In Wells
June 21, 2018
According to Scott, Sheffield, the Chairman of Pioneer Natural Resources Co., capacity to transport oil out of the Permian Basin is expected to reach capacity in the next three to four months. Mr. Sheffield indicated that some companies may have to shut in production or move rigs away given existing pipeline constraints.