Unreasonable Development Restriction in Eminent Domain

Unreasonable Development Restriction in Eminent Domain

While many properties in the eminent domain process are taken from the owner, this is not always the case. In some situations, the property owner may be able to keep the property, but so many restrictions are imposed as to render it useless.

In some cases, the restrictions can be severe enough to limit any kind of development. This may happen through denial of building permits or rezoning. The result for the property owner is the property loses value and may even cause a loss of income if it cannot be developed to its highest and best use.

Remedies for Unreasonable Development Restrictions

If the restrictions imposed seem unreasonable, the property owner might file a court order to reverse the restrictions and possibly submit an inverse condemnation claim. This would either allow them to continue developing the property or receive compensation for the restrictions imposed.

This process can be complicated and lengthy. Many courts require the property owner to go through the development process at least once or possibly even multiple times before it will hear the case. This means the property owner must apply for permits, go through the planning and zoning commissions and even the city council.

Proving Unreasonable Restrictions

The challenge for the property owner is they must be able to prove that the restrictions are unreasonable. At the same time, they will have to plead inverse condemnation. This allows them to file a claim later to receive just compensation if the restrictions are not removed for the development of the property.

For example, a developer may have plans to build an apartment complex on a vacant lot. The project has been denied at some point in the planning phase. The developer has no use for the property except to develop into an income-producing plot. If the restrictions preventing the development of the property are not lifted, the developer will have a nearly worthless property. It will also have very little market value for selling.

This issue can be a problem whether the affected property is residential, commercial, retail or agricultural. The property owner does have the right to compensation for any regulatory takings from eminent domain. However, they need to work with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law. Our firm will fight for your right to develop your property. If that fails, we will seek maximum compensation for the loss of value to your property.