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Land use and contesting eminent domain

For many, ownership of land and a home are the cornerstones of success. Thus, the fact that the government reserves the right to take a person's land and/or home under eminent domain laws may come as an unwelcome surprise. Those in Georgia whose land use may be challenged due to eminent domain could benefit from understanding how to evaluate claims and steps available to dispute them.

Before the government can exercise the right to eminent domain, it must give notice to the landowner. This typically occurs when the landowner receives a notice of intent, which describes the specific area of land in question, the use for which the government requires the land and the proposed purchase price. After receiving this notice, the landowner and the government typically attempt to negotiate in order to resolve any issues prior to proceeding to court actions.

If negotiations fail or do not otherwise conclude in a satisfactory way for the landowner, a formal condemnation (hearing) may follow. During a hearing, a proprietor may contest the amount of compensation offered and the reason behind the initial proposed taking of the land. In these hearings, both sides will be able to offer evidence in support of their positions, which can include information such as the fair market value of similar properties in the area.

There are many factors that can affect the government's right to land use and eminent domain. Most in Georgia who are facing these issues seek the advice of an attorney. An attorney who is experienced in business and commercial litigation will be in the best position to evaluate a client's unique situation, and explain the legal avenues available.

Source: FindLaw, "Challenging Eminent Domain", Accessed on Nov. 1, 2016

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Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC
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