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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Category: Wisconsin Law

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

Special Benefits: One Phrase, Two Meanings

Special benefits under the law are addressed in two contexts – actions involving just compensation under the eminent domain statutes (Wis. Stat. Ch. 32) and actions involving special assessments under Wis. Stat. Ch. 66. Under eminent domain law, if the landowner’s property has received a “special benefit” as a result of the public improvement, the amount of the special benefit offsets the amount of just compensation the condemnor must pay. Separately, municipalities may levy a special assessment on property benefitted... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
February 10, 2017

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

Raising Issues of Statutory Compliance…And No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

What happens when a condemnor offers to pay more for a taking than its appraiser found for damages? Most landowners would be pleased. In this case, the landowner apparently was not, claiming the condemnor failed to base its jurisdictional offer on the appraisal amount because the offer was higher than the appraisal. Thus, the argument was that the condemnor failed to follow the statutory requirement to provide an appraisal upon which the jurisdictional offer is based. The Court of Appeals... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
January 5, 2015

Court of Appeals Allows Expert Testimony on Permit Issue and Bars Similar Sale Evidence

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently issued a decision permitting a DOT appraiser to testify that a landowner would have been required to obtain a new driveway access permit from the DOT to convert his property to a commercial use. This resulted in a lower value for the subject property. In the same ruling, the Court of Appeals barred the landowner from introducing evidence of what the DOT paid other nearby property owners for similar land. While the decision is... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
January 5, 2015