Eminent domain allows federal and state authorities to take property belonging to individuals or businesses for public works, such as taking land to build a highway. The government is required to offer the property owner a “market fair price,” which can be negotiated. There are three types of eminent domain proceedings.
The first type of eminent domain is called physical taking. The most basic and straightforward kind, entails the government making a forced purchase of property. Despite its controversy, these cases are often settled quickly and with minimal hardship, and many of them are small-scale, such as claiming some land at the edge of a lot to build a sidewalk.
Regulatory and pro tanto taking
The second two types of eminent domain cases are more complicated. The first is regulatory takings. These are cases where the government changes the regulations for property, such as re-zoning it or adding environmental requirements that affect what can be built there. Full or partial regulatory takings will have different court treatment and compensation. Lastly, a “pro tanto” case involves eminent domain that interferes with property without taking it directly, such as by altering its access to roads.
It is important to know that the different forms of eminent domain each have their own process of resolving cases as well as different ways of awarding the compensation to the owner. Understanding what kind of eminent domain is involved and how, precisely, it affects the property are key for moving a lawsuit forward and getting the best possible value for both parties.