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A case of eminent domain in Walton County

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Eminent Domain |

Eminent domain has helped governments to acquire millions of acres of land and thousands of properties. Well-known businesses, roads and highways would not exist without this important process. Every year, there are numerous cases of eminent domain that appear in front of county commissioners in Florida.

Questions over a property’s value

In Walton County, commissioners held a meeting agreeing that they could not afford the $18 million price tag of a 3-acre Eastern Lake beach strip that contained an endangered lake. They voted nearly unanimously that the property was too expensive, and a council director discussed an alternative method of buying the land, which is eminent domain.

County commissioners are advised to have the property appraised from two different sources and then create a new offer based on the values. If the property seller chooses not to sell at a lower cost, the county should begin the process of eminent domain.

When a government right can be challenged

Eminent domain law gives a local, state or federal government the right to seize private property and use it for the public good. This right is protected under the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment but only if the buyer agrees to compensate the property owner. If the property is paid for but intended for private use, the transaction is not legal. If the buyer gives a very low offer as compensation, the legality of the process can also be challenged in court.

Eminent domain does not affect everyone

The right of eminent domain is not permissible in every legal situation. Anyone involved in this legal matter should first understand the basic requirements of eminent domain.