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Orlando, Florida Eminent Domain Blog

Cape Coral Park plans may force land owner to sell at a loss

Most land owners in Central Florida are aware of the state's power to force them to sell their property to the state, but they are often unaware of the details of the process until their land becomes the focus of the eminent domain process. Florida's eminent domain laws say that the state or one of its political subdivisions, such as a city, can compel a landowner to sell the land for its fair market value if the state or municipality has identified a proper public purpose for the acquisition. The intersection of the Great Recession in 2008 and the decision by the City of Cape Coral to build a new park have placed one landowner in a very difficult situation.

The landowner purchased the tract at issue in 2004 for $183,000. One year prior to this purchase, the land was sold for $85,000. The owner has paid taxes on the land for the last 15 years. In July of this year, the Cape Coral city council passed what is called a "resolution of necessity," which declared that the land should be acquired for the purpose of building a public park that would enhance "the quality of life through arts and culture. . . ."

Is the government going to take my property?

Eminent domain, despite being a legal tactic used by the government, is still something that often feels a bit out of place in the United States. There is such a focus in Florida and all over the country on the idea of personal freedom, personal ownership and personal rights. Eminent domain seems to fly in the face of these American ideals.

If you're worried about the government swooping in to take your property, there are a few things you should know. Make sure you really understand eminent domain laws and all they entail.

Lee County board approves zoning change to allow 201 units

Many residents of Florida cherish their rural neighborhoods that give them freedom from urban crowding, traffic problems, flooding and water quality. The interests of these residents often run into a different trend: the desire of municipalities to provide quality housing for their residents.

An example of this land use conflict was provided by a recent vote of the Lee County Board of Commissions to rezone 216 acres to permit construction of 201 units of single family housing.

Lime mine lawsuit may be on verge of settling

The City of Bonita Springs and Oakbrook Properties, the owner of a lime rock mine on the north edge of the city, have been locked in a land use dispute since the end of 2017.

Oakbrook wants to redevelop the mining property by building 650 residential units and assorted commercial and recreational facilities. The city wants to use the mine for storm water management.

The eminent domain process in Florida

This blog recently discussed how just compensation for a government taking of property may be calculated. It can also be helpful to consider the eminent domain process in Florida when property is taken for a public use such as a roadway or other transportation project. When that is the case, there is a process the government follows.

The Florida Department of Transportation, like other government entities, has the power to take private property for general public use. The government has this power according to the federal constitution, as well as the Florida constitution. The taking must be determined to be for a public use and the fair market value of the property must be offered to the property owner.

How just compensation for eminent domain is calculated

When a property owner is having their property taken through eminent domain, it is important for them to understand what types of damages they should receive. When property is taken by the government for public use through eminent domain, the government must pay just compensation for the taking which is why it is essential for property owners to know what just compensation means.

The purpose of just compensation is to place the property owner in the same position, or as close to it as possible, that they would have been in without the taking of their property and to make them whole again. It is necessary for property owners going through the takings process to know how just compensation is calculated through the valuation of their property. The property valuation process for eminent domain damages can be a challenging process that the property owner may have to fight for which is why they need to be familiar with it.

Taking action over an inaccurate seller's disclosure

Buying real estate often involves multiple professional examinations of the property, as well as thorough disclosures provided by the seller. The purpose of appraisals and disclosures is to protect people from getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals.

A piece of real estate that seems appealing upon visual inspection could turn out to be a money pit due to serious issues like a sinking foundation. Anyone selling a piece of real estate with defects has an obligation under Florida law to advise the potential purchaser of any known defects in the seller's disclosure.

Legal help with the different types of real estate litigation

Real estate disputes and litigation can be costly, time consuming and challenging. It can also, however, also be important to the property owner's use of the property and their property rights. As a result, it is essential for property owners facing real estate litigation to be familiar with the legal resources available to protect their interests.

Real estate disputes can arise in the context of contract interpretations; interpretations of easements; failure to disclose defects; defects with the title; zoning and land use disputes; eminent domain concerns; boundary conflicts and disputes; and enforcing purchase agreements. Real estate litigation can help property owners resolve all of these types of disputes that may arise and can help clarify and preserve property rights.

Buying property without a real estate agent

Buying a house or other property without an agent can be a risky venture for buyers, especially at closing if they aren’t careful. Yet “iBuyer” companies are growing, according to the National Association of Realtors, which says 13% of homebuyers did it themselves in 2018.

While risk can be involved, the rewards are also high as buyers can shave off thousands of dollars by not paying a commission to agents, which in turn can result in lower mortgage payments.

How can a variance help with my zoning issue?

Zoning restrictions can have a dramatic impact on the property owner's ability to utilize their land how they want. As a result, it is helpful for property owners burdened by a zoning regulation that is in conflict with their intended use of the property to be familiar with the different options that may be available for zoning relief.

One option is to request a variance. There are two types of variances landowners can request for zoning relief. One type addresses the use of the land and the other type addresses the structures built on the land. When requesting either type of variance, the property owner must demonstrate that conforming to the zoning requirement would create an undue hardship for them. In some situations, there may also be a requirement that the variance not be detrimental to the public interest.

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Callan Law Firm
921 Bradshaw Terrace
Orlando, FL 32806

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Orlando Eminent Domain Office