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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Page: 4 of 6

Loss of Homes to Flood Not a Taking

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided today that property owners whose homes were destroyed by a dam breach could not recover on an inverse condemnation claim against the village owning the dam. The decision itself is not nearly as remarkable as the event causing the alleged taking. In June 2008, the area in the vicinity of Lake Delton, Wisconsin, experienced a 1,000-year rainfall and flooding event that caused the failure of the dam forming Lake Delton which, in turn, caused several... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
April 4, 2014

Landowner Wins in SCOTUS Rails-to-Trails Case

In an 8-to-1 decision released today, the United States Supreme Court sided with the landowner when it held that the United States government does not retain a reversionary interest in a railroad right-of-way when it is abandoned by the railroad. The right-of-way in this case was granted pursuant to the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875. It was granted to the railroad in 1908, and crossed land that the United States conveyed to the Brandt family in a 1976 land... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
March 10, 2014

Seizing Mortgages – Richmond Fails to Get Supermajority Vote

The Richmond City Council has failed to obtain the supermajority of votes needed to enact its eminent domain plan to seize underwater mortgages. California eminent domain law requires five of the seven members of a city council to approve a measure to use eminent domain. Richmond could not obtain the five required votes to proceed. The city is not quitting, however. It is continuing its pursuit to help homeowners suffering from underwater mortgages. But to do so, the City is... Read More ›
February 26, 2014

If a Permit Condition Is Not a Compensable Taking, It Is Constitutional

It is a natural assumption that if a municipality is going to impose conditions on the granting of a building permit that the conditions must be reasonably related to the permit or else the conditions are not constitutional. But, a California court has held that if the condition that is being imposed does not unconstitutionally take something from the landowner, then it does not matter if the condition is reasonably related to the permit or not. In Powell v. County... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
February 21, 2014

UK Wind Study Draft Available

A draft of the new UK study attempting to measure the impact of wind farms on property values is available for review and comment. The study, conducted by Professor Steve Gibbons, Director of the London School of Economics, Spatial Economics Research Centre, concluded: “Wind farms reduce house prices in postcodes where the turbines are visible. This price reduction is around 5-6% for housing with a visible wind farm of average size (11 turbines) within 2km, falling to 3% within 4km,... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
February 12, 2014

Seizing Mortgages – The Constitutional Issues

As outlined in my previous post, opponents of the Richmond plan criticize it for its potential impact on the financial market. Opponents, like Wells Fargo, are also quick to declare the plan is unconstitutional. The basis for this argument lies in the transient nature of a mortgage loan. When a person buys a house, the mortgage loan generally does not stay with the homeowner. Instead, the loan – or pieces of it – are sold or transferred between banks, packaged... Read More ›
February 5, 2014

Wind Turbines and Property Values in the UK

I recently described two statistical studies completed in 2013 attempting to measure the effect of wind turbines on residential property values. One analyzed 48,000 home sales in New England, and was conducted by Professor Cory Lang of the University of Rhode Island. The other analyzed 50,000 sales of homes in 27 counties in nine states. The latter study concluded there was no statistically observable difference in prices between homes located close to wind facilities and those further away. The East... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 27, 2014

Seizing Mortgages – The Impact on the Financial Markets

The Richmond eminent domain plan has attracted a great deal of attention since the city first introduced it. Many approved of its purpose: to help the poor fight to keep their heads above water when their homes were so far underwater. There are many, however, who do not share this sentiment. Banks and investors are concerned about the plan’s impact on the financial markets. Banks have alleged there could be financial losses exceeding $200 million. How could such financial losses... Read More ›
January 27, 2014

Suit Commenced Over Highland Wind Farm CPCN

The Town of Forest has sued the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW), asking the court to reverse the decision of the PSCW granting the Highland Wind Farm a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the development of a wind project in St. Croix County. In an earlier post I described the steps taken, and contemplated, by the Town of Forest in St. Croix County to fight the construction of the project. Last November, the town filed a... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 27, 2014