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Pennsylvania school district plans eminent domain action

Pennsylvania law allows for school districts to use eminent domain to obtain property within the district's geographic area. A district that exercises eminent domain must provide compensation to the property owner, but there are often disputes about how much compensation is due.

Attorneys with experience in eminent domain disputes can negotiate to maximize the amount of compensation a school district or the government gives to a property owner. If an eminent domain action will effectively displace a property owner, then a real estate attorney can also negotiate to maximize the property owner's relocation benefits.

With these issues in mind, Philadelphia residents may want to consider an eminent domain action underway outside of Pittsburgh. The owner of a furniture warehouse said he was surprised to hear that a local school district had voted to condemn his property. He said he was under the impression that the school board was still discussing a sale with him.

The school board has reportedly expressed interest in buying the property to later use as parking for an adjacent football stadium. According to the property owner, his initial plan was to either sell to the school board or build another warehouse and loading dock on the property. That plan changed, however, after the school board expressed interest in a purchase.

The property owner said that he hired an appraiser, and the property was valued at $115,000. As is often the case, though, the school district's estimate was significantly lower at $52,000. The property owner countered with an offer of $99,000, which he said would stand until Feb. 1, at which time he would take the property to market.

Now, after having been given a notice of condemnation, the property owner has 30 days to enter a preliminary objection.

Pennsylvania residents with similar concerns may want to speak with a real estate attorney to determine the best course of action.

Source: Observer-Reporter, "C-M to use eminent domain to acquire property," Emily Petsko, Feb. 4, 2014

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