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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Foxconn and Eminent Domain: Using Blighted Property Designations to Redevelop Land

This article was originally posted by the State Bar of Wisconsin. The Village of Mount Pleasant recently declared a large swath of land as “blighted” property, making way for the Foxconn development. In this article, attorney Sara Beachy explains blighted property law in the context of this project. The 2,800-acre, four square-mile future home of Foxconn has now been designated as “blighted.” The blighted zone, also designated as a redevelopment area, includes thriving farms and at least one family’s newly-built... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
July 23, 2018

2017 Wis. Act 243 Makes Costly Changes to Wisconsin’s Condemnation and Relocation Statutes

Co-authored by Attorney Micheal Hahn Governor Walker recently signed 2017 Wis. Act 243 into law, making the most significant changes to Wisconsin’s condemnation statutes in decades. Act 243, which took effect April 5, 2018, has been applauded by businesses who could be displaced by public projects. But the new law will be costly to taxpayers who have to pick up the tab. Below are the top five provisions in the new law: 1. Nearly Unlimited “Project Costs” for Business Relocations... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
April 16, 2018

Loss in Value Caused by Police Power Not Recoverable

Compensation for police power acts is a hot issue in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin court of appeals recently affirmed an order excluding evidence of a significant loss in property value caused by a relocated access point. See North Mayfair, LLC v. Department of Transportation, No. 17AP256 (Wis. Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2018) (not recommended for publication). Depending on which expert you believe, the relocation of the access point caused the property to lose between $1 million and $2.5 million in value.... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
March 7, 2018

Court of Appeals: Yes, The Statutes DO Allow Condemnors to Pay More Than the Appraised Amount for Property

In a new opinion recommended for publication, Otterstatter v. City of Watertown, the court of appeals affirmed that, yes, condemnors can pay more than the appraised amount to acquire land for public projects. The City condemned Otterstatter’s property for an airport project. Otterstatter sued the City challenging the City’s right to take his property. Otterstatter claimed that the City’s jurisdictional offer – the last, best offer and the final step before a taking – was defective because it was $30,000... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
November 2, 2017

Kelo and Foxconn – How Soon They Forget

Private property may only be condemned if it is being taken for a “public use” according to the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause. In 2005, in a universally unpopular opinion, the SCOTUS decided that the taking of private property by a city for redevelopment by a private entity was a “public use.” In Kelo, the New London (Connecticut) Development Corporation (“NLDC”)—a private non-profit organization established to promote development planning in the city—produced  a development plan to revitalize the Fort Trumbull area of... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
October 31, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument 3/20 in Murr v. Wisconsin

The U.S. Supreme Court is gearing up to hear oral argument in a Wisconsin regulatory taking case, Murr v. Wisconsin, on Monday, March 20. Murr involves a family cabin on the shores of the St. Croix River in northwestern Wisconsin. We previously discussed this case last year. SCOTUSblog has an excellent issue summary and argument preview here. Unfortunately, the only way to listen to the argument live is to get a spot in the courtroom.  You can get transcripts on the same day as argument. Audio is posted at the... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
October 31, 2017

Before the Border Wall is Built the Government Needs a Place to Build It

One of President Donald J. Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border.  He promised that it would be built quickly and that Mexico would pay for it.  When most people think of the costs to build the Border Wall, they think of the costs of the construction, such as the labor and materials.  What they do not think of, however, is the cost associated with acquiring the land needed for the Border Wall.  Not only... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
October 31, 2017

Wisconsin Supreme Court Sides With Transmission Line Company in Easement Dispute

The Wisconsin Supreme Court clarified a transmission line company’s rights to trim and remove trees under an easement originally recorded in 1969 in Garza v. American Transmission Co., 2017 WI 35 (April 13, 2017). In Garza, an easement was granted to the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC) in 1969 that gave WPSC the “perpetual right…to erect, maintain and operate an electric transmission line, comprising wood pole structures….”  The same easement gave WPSC the right to enter the property from time... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
October 26, 2017

Partial Obstruction of Billboard Does Not Constitute a Taking

The construction of new buildings, bridges, overpasses and other structures can impact the visibility of billboards along a roadway. When an obstruction of a billboard results from a public improvement, does the billboard company have a protected property interest that requires compensation from the government? The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently addressed this issue and held that a partial obstruction of a billboard caused by a new pedestrian overpass did not result in an unconstitutional taking of property rights. Adams Outdoor... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
October 26, 2017