Eminent domain has been used from the federal level all the way to the local level to acquire land that’s deemed necessary for the public good. However, a major challenge comes when trying to set a price for that land.
Real estate lawyer John Bell says eminent domain has been used locally by the Corpus Christi Independent School District, the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County.
Also, it was used for the construction of the new Harbor Bridge.
“Whether if it is a utility easement or a fence, or a wall if you are cutting off some access on somebody’s property, you’re really taking that additional property too,” says Bell.
Hillcrest area residents learned when the Harbor Bridge project began, it was not always easy to agree on a price for the land that’s being acquired.
When the government invokes eminent domain, they would have to pay fair market value for the land.
The government and landowners can each use their own appraisers to determine that value.
However, there may not be agreement on the value so if the landowner feels the government’s offer is low. Then, the burden is on the property owner to provide proof for a higher offer.
If the landowner and the government can’t come to an agreement on the fair market value, it could be up to a judge to decide.