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Threats of eminent domain in dispute over old building

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2020 | Real Estate Litigation |

A showdown of sorts is taking place in Florida over a utility building located next to a fire station number in Key Largo. On one side of the issue stands the designated caretaker of the building. His opposers include staff members and commissioners for the Fire Rescue and Emergency Services department for the city.

A group of district commissioners feels that the old building serves more use to the public as a dormitory for firefighters. The caretaker of the building will not agree to hand the building over for this purpose and now faces possible financial document requests as well as threats of eminent domain claims.

The building at the center of the controversy once belonged to the Key Large Volunteer Fire Department. The district sued the fired department over the building, but the two sides came to a monetary settlement in 2015. The volunteer fire department is now defunct, but the building remains in the care of the department’s president.

A district commissioner says that an effort to lease the building received a rejection from the caretaker. The same thing happened to an offer made to contribute to a retirement fund for the volunteer firefighters in exchange for the building. The commissioner also points out that the volunteer fire department accepted a $179,000 payment for the land on which the building stands.

The caretaker says the building will soon become a museum in honor of the volunteer fire department. He says the money the department accepted for the land went to satisfy debt responsibilities ignored by the district.

Eminent domain rights provide both local and federal governments with the right to claim the property of private citizens for use by the public, but private property owners do possess some rights against eminent domain claims. Individuals involved in conflicts regarding eminent domain may help their position by speaking with an attorney experienced with these matters.