Naperville Lawyer Discusses Eminent Domain and the Proposed Airport Project

fair value, proper taking, Naperville business law attorneyWith plans for the proposed South Suburban Airport on hold, a Will County Board member is asking the governor to suspend efforts to acquire property under eminent domain laws. Currently, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports the existence of eight separate cases, encompassing a total of more than 220 acres, that were already underway when the airport project was held up for review by Governor Bruce Rauner’s office.

Judy Ogalla, a member of the Will County Board, acknowledged the need for the proper application of eminent domain laws, but claimed that without funding or approval for the airport, the land is not yet needed. She urged the rest of the board to pass a resolution requesting that the governor halt the acquirement of land until the project is actually moving forward. Such a resolution would be an indication that “we value property rights,” she said.

Eminent Domain

In my practice, I am regularly being asked about eminent domain laws in Illinois. These laws refer to the state’s ability to acquire land or property from private owners for public use or projects. There are two primary concerns that must be addressed, however, in any application of eminent domain provisions.

Proper Taking

Any government entity attempting to acquire private property under eminent domain must be able to demonstrate a valid pubic economic public interest. The government must show that its intended use of the property would be more beneficial to the public and community than if the property remained under private control. Once proven, the land may be “condemned” and appropriate compensation must be determined.

Fair Value

Eminent domain laws require the government to pay fair market value for any property it acquires by such means. The property must be properly appraised for any and all potential uses, each of which may have an impact its relative market price. The property owner is entitled to receive the cash market value of the property that a willing purchaser would pay to a willing owner in a voluntary sale. As such, this generally means the owner should be compensated for the land at its highest value for its most valuable appropriate use.

Eminent Domain Representation

If you are a property owner at risk of having your land condemned under eminent domain, contact an experienced Naperville business lawyer today. At the Gierach Law Firm, we have a team dedicated to helping you protect your rights under law. If eminent domain acquisition is inevitable, we will fight for you to pursue the highest possible compensation for your property.