Eminent domain a powerful tool

December 17, 2009
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The city’s decision to seize valuable properties along the Lynnway using court sanctioned eminent domain is an often used method of putting together important parcels for a development or a special need that wouldn’t otherwise come up for sale.

In the instance of the five properties the city is seeking, it is seeking only aerial rights, said James Marsh, Community Development director.

EDIC attorney Paul Keating is handling the legal aspects of the eminent domain takings.

In most eminent domain cases between a city and private property owners, negotiations occur between the owners and the city prior to the taking.

A sufficient public purpose to allow the sovereign (the city) to make a taking must be shown to exist.

Appraisal values are made by professionals and must be reached pro tanto (Latin meaning so much), then the award based on the appraisal is paid.

At this time, the property owner is allowed to file a law suit in Superior Court seeking a higher payment for the property that was taken.

The former property owner hires a lawyer and an expert witnesse. The former owner has a right to give an opinion as to the value of what he or she has lost to eminent domain.

Such cases take 5-7 years, generally to resolve.

The former owner will receive interest and a further payment if the court so finds.

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