There are usually several issues to settle before a property is developed and construction can begin. Along with zoning issues, sometimes there are properties already on the land, and they need to be purchased and razed to move forward with the project. If a property owner refuses to sell to a government agency wanting to acquire their property, issues of eminent domain may arise.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent domain allows federal, state, or local agencies to buy properties on land they want to develop for public use. The agency must fairly compensate the owners of the properties and the land must be used for libraries, schools, police stations, fire departments, and similar public spaces. Along with residential properties, sometimes commercial properties need to be acquired for construction to proceed, which is why property owners need to contact a commercial real estate lawyer in Santa Barbara, CA for help.
As part of the eminent domain process, the properties will be assessed to find out their market value. The value of the commercial property will be assessed by considering
* how the property was used,
* the property’s location,
* any property improvements and their age,
* environmental issues,
* lease agreements regarding the property, and
* zoning and land use requirements.
A commercial real estate lawyer should advise his or her client to acquire their own appraiser to assess the value of the property so they can counter any offers made to them. Although property owners do not have to agree to a sell, the government usually has the upper hand in eminent domain cases.
If an agreement on value cannot be reached, the government agency may proceed with using eminent domain to acquire the property. They will meet with a legislative body to proceed, but as the owner, your commercial real estate lawyer can attend the hearing to object to its acquisition.