Policy issues involving eminent domain is ongoing. While the state of Georgia takes measures to limit abuse, are property owners satisfied?
Georgia property rights
Since the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, various states in the U.S. have tried to pass reforms. Some have succeeded, some have failed.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that states can place restrictions on eminent domain. The Georgia constitution limits government taking of land for public use only. State legislature also requires that landowners are notified in advance. They should also receive a copy of their rights.
So, what defines public use?
Each city has specific rules that govern eminent domain. For the most part, “public use” is a term that concerns roads or other government projects. Federal and local government can use this power, as well as power companies and hospitals.
Eminent domain is common
Georgia is a growing state. To keep up with the growth, there’s a constant need for more roads, parking, schools and other public developments. Property owners might shiver at the thought of such a present threat, although history repeats itself. The federal government’s power of acquiring private property with compensation has been active since the late 1800s.
Despite being a common occurrence, eminent domain is still selective. Landowners can challenge the taking of their property, but for the most part, most petitions are specifically for public use. If private use can be proved, then there could be a case.
On the other hand, property owners can disagree with the compensation. Sometimes the offer starts too low. Therefore, the settlement can be argued.
Before bringing a case to court, it’s important to seek legal counsel. A lawyer with expertise in the eminent domain process will advise you on whether to settle or fight for more.