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.
Property owners might be interested in a case that is currently pending in Florida. The case involves Collier County and the lawsuit that was filed and won against it by a subsidiary of CVS Health called RTG and Holiday CVS. In that case, a jury awarded the plaintiffs $6.5 million in an eminent domain case.
A Florida family won a minor victory in 2017 in a long legal battle against the city of Cape Coral over an eminent domain land purchase that began in 2014. While the family expects legal arguments may continue, the City Council agreed to drop the matter and purchase a nearby parcel. The case represents hope for landowners who may be facing eminent domain and a reminder that opposing unfair takings does have a chance of success.
The Florida Department of Transportation has modified its plans to increase the capacity of 24 miles of U.S. Route 231, and the agency now says that the highway will only be widened to six lanes between U.S. Route 98 and Penny Road. However, this news has not been received warmly by some local residents and businesses who have accused the FDOT of deliberately releasing the details of its plan way in advance in order to drive down property values in the area.
Landowners in Florida may have heard of "eminent domain," they but might not be familiar with the intricacies of the concept and the legal issues that surround it. Eminent domain means that the government has a right to take the land of a private citizen for public benefit. The government must pay the landowner fairly for the land. In practice, however, eminent domain is rarely this straightforward.
Florida may be one of the sites for the next battle over the building of a pipeline, and the rights of property owners could be at stake. Already, eminent domain has been used to seize 160 homes in the planned path of the pipeline, which will run through Alabama and Georgia as well as Florida, and property values have plummeted for some homes that were not seized.
For the last several months, Florida residents have been voicing concerns about unfair property seizures sought by the Sabal Trail pipeline. Unfair property seizures are not the only public frustration brought to the forefront by the proposed project, however. Noted environmentalists have a growing list of worries regarding environmental impacts that the pipeline could produce.
A Florida congressman has proposed a federal solution for a water overflow problem in the Everglades. However, some critics say that the plan, which will have to rely on eminent domain, won't actually solve the problem. The issue revolves around Lake Okeechobee, a lake that overflowed in the 1920s in a storm that killed over 2,000 people.
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.