As a property owner, a compulsory purchase order under eminent domain laws could destroy your dreams for the future and your memories of the past.
Whether your property is your home, farm, or business, losing it will be devastating. Rather than assuming that a purchase will go ahead because the law says so, you need to look at options to contest the proposed acquisition.
While laws are written, they are often open to interpretation. Think about all the high-profile cases that have been sent to the Supreme Court because one party disagrees with a judges’ understanding of a specific law. So you always have a chance to prevent what looks like a certainty from happening.
Laws can also change if there is enough pressure. For instance, in 2017, Tennessee redefined public use concerning eminent domain, removing the creation of industrial parks from counting as a valid public use. It also stipulated a list of things that landowners forced to sell must receive compensation for.
As well as challenging whether the project is for public use or a thinly disguised attempt to make someone money, you can question if the project is necessary. Yes, it might serve the public, but does the public want or need this?
Finally, if you cannot stop the project from going ahead, you need to challenge the amount of compensation offered. Those in charge of calculating the price will have been briefed to keep the cost down, so do not settle for their first offer.
Fighting an eminent domain purchase is complex, and the sooner you find out more, the more time you have to put a plan into action.