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Fight against rising seas may involve eminent domain

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2020 | Eminent Domain |

Residents of Florida’s many coastal and other low-lying areas should pay careful attention as their local authorities make plans to combat rising sea levels.

As a good example, the United States Corps of Engineers is negotiating a plan with local authorities that would involve raising thousands of homes in the Florida Keys.

The plan would also involve reinforcing important sections of coastline around the Overseas Highway, the main traffic artery for the islands.

The plan would involve $5.4 billion in infrastructure spending, but the federal government and local officials with Monroe County have hit an apparent sticking point.

The plan would involve offering voluntary buyouts to 300 property owners. However, the Corps of Engineers wants the option to exercise eminent domain if these property owners decline to sell voluntarily. Local officials say they do not plan to agree to this option at this time.

While it remains to be seen how this plan will play out, there will likely be many more locales in Florida that will have to figure out plans to protect homes, businesses and public utilities from storm surges and other coastal flooding.

No matter what governmental authority is funding these updates, it will always be possible that eminent domain will be on the table. After all, the government will likely require some land in order to make their improvements.

Florida landowners do not have certain rights during an eminent domain proceeding. One of the most important of these rights is the right to get just compensation for their property.

However, eminent domain is a complicated legal process, so it is important for landowners facing the prospect of it to understand their rights and options.