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City calls using eminent domain a 'fall-back position'

Deciding to sell your property is a big decision, but in the long run it can be in your best interests. In the most optimal situations, you get to decide when to sell, for what price and to whom you want your sell your property. However, these elements can all be considered luxuries when you are presented with an offer by the government in the form of an eminent domain action.

When your private property is targeted for public use, the government can secure your property through eminent domain. This can be enormously frustrating when you had no intention of selling the property. Oftentimes, disputes can arise that need to be settled in court. That appears to be the situation in which redevelopers and a mill owner in Florida have recently found themselves.

Reports indicate that the mill sits on a parcel of land that is slated to be part of a waterfront district development project. The lease-holder of the mill has evidently refused offers by the developers to use about one-sixth of an acre it currently owns to allow pedestrians and other members of the public to cross through that area. 

Safety appears to be the main factor in the mill owner's decision to deny access so far, and the two sides have yet to reach a deal.

Developers say that if they cannot negotiate access with the mill owner, they will attempt to do so through eminent domain. However, they call that option the "least desirable option" as it would affect financing and costs.

Should City Hall choose to file a legal claim, the mill owner could still choose to challenge the price being offered or the validity of the proposed land use in an effort to halt the taking of the property.

Negotiating the sale or use of a property or challenging an eminent domain action can both be enormously complex processes. Considering the fact that your property and your financial future could both be at stake, it would be wise to consult a real estate law attorney who can explain your options and help you protect your rights.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Tampa could use eminent domain for road in Vinik-Cascade project," Richard Danielson, April 1, 2016

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