Eminent domain is the power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, private person, or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property. This includes power lines, sewers, roads and other such takings.
Americans are often surprised to discover that the government can take their private property without their consent. Most people become aware of the government’s power of eminent domain (also known as “condemnation”) when they discover that their property is needed for a public project, such as road improvements, a new school, utility upgrades, conservation, or an airport expansion.
The use of eminent domain to “take” private property and the actual process of “taking” land for public use is limited by the U. S. Constitution as well as the constitution and laws of each state. Condemnation power is one of our government’s greatest powers. This risk can be diminished with the help of advisors familiar with the financial and legal impacts of eminent domain.