Eminent domain is a highly contentious area of law that pits property owners against state and local authorities. In these delicate situations, property owners often need legal assistance in challenging a condemnation or negotiating to maximize compensation and relocation benefits.
An eminent domain dispute is unfolding in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where the local school board recently voted in favor of using eminent domain to purchase a golf course on which to build an elementary school and learning center.
The owners of Meadow Brook Golf Club have said that they don't want to sell the property, and other members of the community who use the golf course want to retain it for recreation and historical value.
However, the school board claims that the property owners were the ones who initially floated the idea of selling the golf course. The owners reportedly asked for $8 million in compensation, but the school district said it was only willing to pay $5 million. According to the district, the property was appraised at $3.725 million.
At a recent meeting, a member of the Phoenixville Area School Board said that paying $8 million for the land would spark protests from residents over the board's fiduciary duty to the community.
The meeting did not lead to another vote, and no meeting is scheduled before the New Year. That means the 30-day period to take action will probably expire, and the school district will take the property.
If Philadelphia-area residents aren't sure of their legal options in the midst of an eminent domain action, a real estate attorney with experience in this area of law should be able to clarify matters.
Source: Daily Local News, "No heroes, many villains in Phoenixville eminent domain dispute," Alan Macbain, Dec. 7, 2013