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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Page: 2 of 6

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

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

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

Outagamie County Flip Flops on Eminent Domain Decision

Controversy is swirling in the Appleton, Wisconsin area after Outagamie County voted in favor of using eminent domain to acquire property for a new Sheriff’s facility. Outagamie County attempted to purchase the property, but the property owner accepted a rival offer from J.F. Ahern Co. Fire Protection.  After losing out on the bid to purchase the property, the Outagamie County Board voted 17-11 to exercise its power of eminent domain to acquire the property. The Board cited the significant cost... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
August 3, 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

Right-to-Work Law is an Unconstitutional Taking

On Saturday morning, April 9, 2016, I read the headline in the Wisconsin State Journal:  “Dane County Judge Strikes Down Right-to-Work Law.” I have to be honest: my first thought was that another out-of-control Dane County judge is running amok, taking his opportunity to stick it to the Walker administration before he retires form the bench on July 31. Could there be another explanation? After all, no right-to-work law has been struck down in any state where it has been enacted.... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
April 25, 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

“Controlled-Access Highway” Allows the DOT to Control More Than Just the Highway

This article is co-authored by Attorneys Michelle Martin and Sara Beachy. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently decided Hoffer Properties, LLC v. State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation, a case involving the elimination of a property’s direct access points to a controlled-access highway.  In Hoffer, the Wisconsin DOT took two actions: (1) eliminated Hoffer’s direct access to State Trunk Highway 19 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin; and (2) acquired a portion of Hoffer’s property to extend a road to be able to... Read More ›