When you learned of the possibility of a new road or the expansion of an existing road near your property, you may have had some concerns. Obviously, a new or expanded road could lead to more traffic near your home, and that could present some safety risks. What you may not have anticipated, however, was the government wanting to take your property in order to complete the roadway project.
You may have thought that the government could not simply waltz in and take your property, and you are right and wrong. According to eminent domain privileges, the government can take your property in order to complete a certain project, but you have to receive fair compensation for it, and it must be for public use.
What can they take?
Even though the government must pay you for your land, you may not want to give it up. Unfortunately, under eminent domain, the government can move forward with seizure proceedings with or without your permission. Understandably, you may worry how much of your property they could take, and depending on the needs of the project, the government could purchase the entirety of your property or just a portion. It could also indicate that the use is temporary, and you could get your property back.
If you still refuse to allow the government to take your property, it is likely that legal proceedings will take place. The government will present evidence to the court that it tried to conduct a sale of your property, and it may try to obtain the property through a court order. You can also present evidence of your own as to why you think the project should not involve your property.
Why can they take it?
Though the government does have the power to take private property, it cannot just simply take it for any reason. If your local government wants to enact eminent domain on your property, the property will have to go toward a project for public use. In your case, a roadway would be open to the public, and as a result, your land is at risk of seizure.
What can you do?
As mentioned, if you do not want to sell your property to the government, you may be able to present your reasons in court and hope for a favorable outcome. However, it is important to note that achieving that outcome is difficult, though not impossible. On the other hand, if you believe that selling your property would save time and effort, you can work toward negotiating just compensation for your property. In either case, it is wise to have a Texas attorney experienced in eminent domain matters on your side.