It’s been your home for decades. You raised your family there, played baseball with the kids in the backyard, and hosted plenty of neighborhood barbecues. But now the local school district has thrown a monkey wrench into your plans to stay in this house until the day you die.
Eminent domain. Along with a few other residences in the neighborhood, your two-story home has been condemned to make way for a new high school with plenty of parking lots. Your house just happens to be where the new parking lot will be.
The situation brings out predictable emotions: anger, frustration, tears and a sense of defeat. It’s just plain upsetting, but you will have to accept what will happen.
Eminent domain is a federal, state and local government power to take private land for public use in certain situations such as building or expanding a new school, highway, hospital, library or even sports stadium. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the seeds for eminent domain in its “Takings Clause” that prohibits the federal government from taking private property for public use “without just compensation.”
If this happens to you, make sure learn as much about the law as you can and prepare for any proceedings, which may take months. Here are a number of things that you should consider doing:
It’s not easy saying goodbye to your home, and it smarts when it’s essentially taken away from you through eminent domain. But you’ve likely known about the government’s plan for a few years, so you will have time to prepare as best as you can. Accept the change, move on and adapt to your newest home.