One of the most common reasons the government uses eminent domain is to improve and expand transportation “for the greater good.” President Eisenhower’s National Highway System that connects the country would not have worked without eminent domain. And most people take highways for granted as an easy way of travel.
However, the people of Brookhaven, Georgia, recently discovered the pain that eminent domain can cause.
New I-285 toll lanes impact nearly 300 properties
The Reporter Newspaper states that the state plans to add toll lanes on Highway I-285. Toll lanes can significantly reduce commute times as well as help the Georgia economy grow.
However, the government needs the property to build these toll lanes. And according to the Reporter Newspaper, that property includes both commercial and residential properties around Brookhaven and the surrounding area.
Naturally, families and business owners have not responded positively to this development. Many of them wish they had more say in the matter before the decision was made for them that would cost them their homes and property.
Is it possible to stop this project?
It is only natural that many homeowners and business owners may want to challenge this project to keep their property. However, challenging eminent domain generally only works if the government cannot justify the taking.
In this case, the government has already established its reason. It is likely that they will move forward with the project as planned. However, residents and business owners do have rights in these situations.
Property owner’s rights in eminent domain cases
Usually, the government must provide property owners with just compensation when they invoke eminent domain. Property owners have a right to this compensation, which includes:
- Reimbursement of the property’s market value
- Financial losses businesses might suffer
- Relocation costs and assistance
- Attorney or appraisal fees
Property owners also have the right to challenge the amount of this compensation if they do not believe it is fair.
Many landowners feel that the government ignores their rights in eminent domain cases. They feel that they have lost control of their situation, or that these projects are most definitely not in their “greater good” interests.
This is understandable. However, property owners must remember that they have not lost control. Understanding these rights and exercising them can help individuals protect them against government mistreatment.