Some residents in Florida may be required to sell their property to protect a local beachfront. Specifically, Boca Raton officials may take possession of seven properties north of the Boca Inlet. In 2016, several property owners were asked to voluntarily sell their properties, but no one was willing to sell. Now, the government may try to use the principle of eminent domain to take those properties.
Such an action would require court approval, and property owners would be compensated for their loss. If the properties are seized, the land may be used to create a series of parks. It may also be incorporated into an undeveloped lot called Ocean Strand. According to local officials, the goal would be to protect the beaches. The preservation effort started in 2015 after a developer won permission to build a 10,000-square-foot house on North Ocean Boulevard.
Typically, a property owner cannot be forced to sell his or her property as long as property taxes and mortgage payments have been made. However, the government may have the authority to seize property under the concept of eminent domain. In some cases, the government may try to persuade a property owner to sell land or a home without the need for legal action.
Those who have been approached by government officials about selling their property may want to consult with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to talk more about what eminent domain is and what rights the property owner may have. An attorney may also be able to take action to persuade a judge to rule in the owner's favor by arguing that there is no need for the government to take it. If property is seized, its owner must be paid a fair value for it.