In a previous post, we discussed how even though it can be very embittering, highly discouraging and understandably nerve-wracking to learn that a governmental entity here in the state of Georgia wants to secure your property for use in a public project, you must never forget that you have rights.
Indeed, we started to explore how before government officials can even start using terms like condemnation and eminent domain in earnest, they must first ensure that they abide by all applicable processes and procedures.
Once the governmental entity has fulfilled all of its notice requirements concerning the condemnation meeting, the proceeding can be held as planned.
In the event that a resolution is passed to condemn your property, the governmental entity must wait for a minimum of 30 days before filing a petition of condemnation in the superior court system that has jurisdiction over the matter.
After the petition is filed, the county sheriff will attempt to personally serve you with notice of the condemnation within 20 days. This notice will include an order from the presiding judge outlining the time and place at which both you and the governmental entity must appear to voice objections, assert rights, make claims as to the value of the land or raise other material matters.
It’s imperative to note that you also have the right to file a motion with the superior court challenging 1) the exercise of the eminent domain power and/or 2) whether the planned taking is truly for a public use on your own at any time prior to title to your property vesting with the governmental entity.
What this serves to underscore is that there are multiple channels through which you, the landowner, can attempt to contest the taking of your land.
We’ll continue to explore this topic in future posts.
If the government has made any sort of attempt to take your property, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and to help ensure the preservation of your options.