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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Category: Chapter 32

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 Feb. 13, 2018) (not recommended for publication).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

Landowner Loses Claim That the Condemnor Paid Him Too Much

Every once in a while, we are asked to defend a condemnor in a right-to-take action where the landowner claims he or she was paid too much money for whatever land rights were taken.  The most recent attempt to make such a claim was addressed by the Jefferson County Circuit Court in Case No. 16-CV-93.  As in every other case we are aware of, the claim was unsuccessful.  But why would the landowner make such a claim in the first... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
November 2, 2016

The $267 Inverse Condemnation Claim

This is an odd case on several levels. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision on the law was entirely predictable. The odd thing is that the appeal was taken in the first place. The Village of Cross Plains took 703 square feet of Kenneth Ransom’s property to build a road. The award of damages was $6,650. Ransom appealed, claiming he was entitled to $11,300 in just compensation. The Village then apparently submitted an appraisal concluding that Ransom was actually entitled... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
April 28, 2016

Update: Briefs Roll in Amid Murr v. State of Wisconsin SCOTUS Appeal

We’ve been watching Murr v. State of Wisconsin, a regulatory taking case involving a St. Croix River family cabin, closely since the Supreme Court of the United States accepted review. The briefs are now rolling in. As explained in a previous blog post, the issue in Murr is whether two small, adjacent residential lots may be treated as one combined property for purposes of evaluating whether a regulatory taking occurred. Because the Murrs could use and develop their two lots... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
April 20, 2016

The Family Cabin Goes to the High Court

The U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Review of Murr v. State of Wisconsin A longer version of this blog entry appeared in the March 2016 issue of Inside Track. A family cabin on the shores of the St. Croix Scenic Riverway in Troy, Wisconsin, is making national news among eminent domain watchers. The Murr family purchased two adjacent riverfront lots in the 1960s. They built a family cabin on one of the lots and kept the other lot for retirement. Now,... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
February 19, 2016

Uneconomic Remnant: One Circuit Court Judge’s View

As an eminent domain practitioner, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Waller v. American Transmission Company last year left me…unsatisfied. Instead of acknowledging the statutory morass created by the legislature (incidentally, a morass acknowledged by both condemnors’ and landowners’ counsel), the majority decision ignores the procedural problems with the statutes and does nothing to make things easier for either landowners or condemnors. In my opinion, the problems with the decision relate more to the procedural aspects of asserting an uneconomic... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
September 10, 2014