Purple Line Update: What Property Owners Need to Know


The Federal Transit Administration issued its Record of Decision approving the Purple Line on March 19, 2014.  Now, with federal approval in hand, the Maryland Transit Administration is moving ahead to acquire title to property from hundreds of people whose homes and businesses are located in the right-of-way of the planned project. View proposed Purple Line in your neighborhood.

If all or part of your property will be required for the Purple Line, you will be contacted in the very near future by an appraiser who will seek to inspect your property as part of the appraisal process.  Some property owners will be asked to give permission to the State to conduct physical inspections, including core drillings, to investigate the nature of the subsurface along the right-of-way, especially on potentially contaminated properties.

A couple of very important points owners should remember about the process are as follows:  anything a property owner says to the appraiser or State representatives about his or her property may impact the valuation of the property and the State’s offer and, most importantly, owners should know that they do not have to accept the offer presented by the State.  Often the State’s appraisal and, consequently, the State’s offer of compensation for the taking fails to consider important factors impacting a fair valuation of the property taken and damages caused to the remainder of property which is not taken.

Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys have more than 60 years of condemnation experience—protecting our clients’ rights throughout the condemnation process. The litigation skills of our attorneys, combined with their knowledge of real estate and the unique procedures and rules applicable to Maryland condemnation cases, permit them to provide the highest quality legal representation in this unique area of the law.  U.S. News – Best Lawyers® awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation for 2014. Our team includes Jim Thompson, who was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers; and Joe Suntum, the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.

The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe a property owner may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please contact our offices at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys:  Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum. For more information on the Eminent Domain practice at Miller, Miller & Canby, click here.

For more information on the Land Use & Zoning practice at Miller, Miller & Canby, click here. - See more at: http://www.millermillercanby.com/blog/index.cfm/2014/4/25#sthash.aNHuQ5r6.dpuf
For more information on the Land Use & Zoning practice at Miller, Miller & Canby, click here. - See more at: http://www.millermillercanby.com/blog/index.cfm/2014/4/25#sthash.aNHuQ5r6.dpuf


View Related MM&C Purple Line Articles:
The Purple Line and You; Part I

The Purple Line and You; Part II: Eminent Domain

The Purple Line and You; Part III: Acquisition of Property





November 7 Montgomery County Purple Line Seminar: Know Your Rights as Owners & Tenants


Miller, Miller & Canby will host an evening seminar and discussion concerning the Purple Line and property owners’ and tenants’ rights in the condemnation process on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at Rosemary Hills Elementary School.

Rosemary Hills Elementary School
2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Thursday, November 7, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


You are cordially invited to attend the seminar, at no charge to you, to learn about your rights in the condemnation process or how the Purple Line may affect your property. Click the download button below for more information about this informative seminar on the Purple Line and Your Rights as an Owner.

Kindly email MM&C to RSVP for this important community event.

Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.
 





October 29 Prince Georges County Purple Line Seminar: Know Your Rights as Owners & Tenants


Miller, Miller & Canby will host an evening seminar and discussion concerning the Purple Line and property owners’ and tenants’ rights in the condemnation process on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at Riverdale Elementary School.

Riverdale Elementary School
5006 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD 20737
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


You are cordially invited to attend the seminar, at no charge to you, to learn about your rights in the condemnation process or how the Purple Line may affect your property.  Click the download button below for more information about this informative seminar on the Purple Line and Your Rights as an Owner.

Kindly email MM&C to RSVP for this important community event.

Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.





Full Steam Ahead for the Purple Line


Michael Madden, MTA Purple Line Project Manager, provided an update on the Purple Line project to the Silver Spring Action Committee for Transit Tuesday evening (October 8, 2013). Mr. Madden made it clear that the Purple Line project will be moving forward—starting with real property acquisitions—as soon as the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issues its Record of Decision (ROD), which Mr. Madden stated is expected to occur on December 5, 2013.  Mr. Madden explained that the State’s portion of the funding has been approved and the MTA is laying the groundwork to be ready to move forward quickly once the ROD is signed, by soliciting appraisers to appraise the properties that will be taken and initiating consultations with tenants and owners who will be displaced.  

The period for commenting on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will close on October 21, 2013.  Thereafter, the MTA will consider the comments and incorporate its responses in the ROD, which it expects the FTA to sign in early December.
 
Mr. Madden provided the overall timeline for the project, including both condemnation and non-condemnation aspects, which include:

  1. The comment period on the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) closes 10/21/2013.
  2. The MTA expects the FTA to sign the ROD (Record of Decision, which is the final controlling approval of the project, i.e. the formal “go ahead”) on December 5, 2013.
  3. The MTA, in conjunction with the SHA, will begin acquisitions immediately once the ROD is signed in December.  The MTA has already begun counseling tenants and owners who will be displaced and has put out bids for appraisals in order to be ready to move as soon as the ROD is signed.
  4. The project will be a P3, i.e. a “Public Private Partnership” in which a private company will be contracted to build and operate the transit way for 30 years according to metrics set by the MTA.
  5. Responses to the MTA’s Request for Qualifications from potential P3 “concessionaires” are due this month (October 2013).
  6. The MTA will announce the “short list” of potential concessionaires in December.
  7. The bid proposals from the selected P3 concessionaires will be due next August (2014).
  8. The preferred P3 partner will be chosen in the Fall of 2014.
  9. The FFGA (Full Funding Grant Agreement) with the federal government, i.e. the federal government’s funding commitment, is expected to be finalized in early 2015.
  10. Construction will begin in 2015.
  11. Construction is hoped to be completed in 2020.

Mr. Madden also noted that the MTA and Montgomery County are in negotiations with the owner of the Apex Building in Bethesda and it hoped to know whether the owner will commit to redevelop the building by January or February, so the MTA can finalize their plans for the western end of the project.  He also noted that the MTA now owns the Taco Bell property in Langley Park, which will be developed with the Langley Bus Depot.  The utility work for that project is nearing completion and the pre-construction meeting with the contractor will be held this month.  Construction of the bus depot will take place in phases with the first phase beginning this month.  Construction of the bus depot is scheduled to be completed in 2015 just before construction of the Purple Line begins.

Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.

Miller, Miller & Canby has announced two free seminars on the rights of owners and tenants with respect to the Purple Line condemnation process.
 
Click the download button below for more information about these important community events.





MM&C Eminent Domain Attorney, Joseph P. Suntum, Quoted in Washington Post Purple Line Article


Purple Line light-rail system would bring new infrastructure to neighborhoods

A light-rail Purple Line, estimated to cost $2.15 billion, has no construction funding. Even so, the Maryland Transit Administration continues to refine its design, including an extensive rail infrastructure required to operate, maintain and house the trains.

That could include 20 power substations, 14 “signal bungalows” containing train-control equipment, a nine-story “ventilation tower” in the Bethesda Row entertainment district, and a tunnel three-tenths of a mile long to be blasted beneath a Silver Spring neighborhood.

The Lyttonsville area of Silver Spring would get a train storage yard, while part of Riverdale would get a maintenance facility.

Some Montgomery County residents face the double whammy of losing parts of their front yards to a transitway and living next to a power substation.

Joseph Suntum
, a Rockville lawyer who focuses on eminent domain cases, said they might be the fortunate ones. People who lose any land to a public project are entitled to be compensated if their remaining property also has lost value, he said. Those who don’t lose any property are entitled only to financial compensation if a project’s impact on them is significantly worse than on their neighbors, Suntum said.

That might end up being a question for the courts — and a topic of increasing interest.

Read the entire Washington Post Article published on September 14, 2013.


Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.





The Purple Line and You; Part III: Aquisition of Property


This is a three-part series written by Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain Attorneys discussing Purple Line and how it may impact residents in its path.

Do I have to accept what is offered to me?

No.  You have a right to be justly compensated. You do not have to accept what the condemning authority initially offers to you.  There is often disagreement as to what constitutes just compensation in any given case.  If you cannot reach agreement with the State regarding what that amount is, you have the right to a jury trial to determine the amount.  If the issue does reach trial, both sides will present evidence—in the form of expert testimony and appraisals, for example—to demonstrate what they believe to be just compensation.  The jury then makes a decision based upon that evidence.
 
Can I prevent my property from being taken?

There are very limited grounds for preventing the condemnation of property from going forward, which has been determined by an appropriate government authority to be necessary for a public project,. The courts will not second guess the governmental decision in that regard.  But the courts will ensure that this decision be made lawfully.    

When might I hear more about potential acquisition of property for the Purple Line?

Governor O’Malley announced the earmark of funds towards the design, construction, and land acquisition for the Purple Line on August 5, 2013.  It is expected that the government will begin the process of acquiring property rights as soon as the federal government issues its Record of Decision, which may occur as early as next month.

Before any condemnation action is filed against you, you will receive notice and an opportunity to negotiate with the condemning authority as to the amount of just compensation to which you are entitled.

It is important to stay abreast of the project and consult with experienced eminent domain counsel if you have any questions concerning whether any of your property will be taken for the project and, if so, how you may ensure that you receive full just compensation for any property rights taken.  

For additional information on property rights and to view an Owner’s Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland click here.  You may also review the Maryland Department of Transportation’s website for Purple Line project updates and funding schedule.

For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact  Joe Suntum.





The Purple Line and You; Part II: Eminent Domain


This is a three-part series written by Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain Attorneys discussing Purple Line and how it may impact residents in its path.

What is eminent domain?

“Eminent domain” is the inherent power of a governmental entity to take privately-owned property for a public use.  It is generally achieved through the act of condemnation.  Both the federal and Maryland State constitutions require that property owners be paid “just compensation” for their property, which means the “full monetary equivalent” for the property that is taken.  The purpose in paying just compensation is to make the property owner whole.

How much private property may be taken from a property owner for the Purple Line?

Owners of property in the path of the Purple Line may be subject to having all or part of their property taken, and it may be taken permanently or temporarily.  View proposed Purple Line in your neighborhood.  If all of your property is taken for the Purple Line, you will be entitled to be paid the full “fair market value” of your property.  This is defined as the price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would accept, as of the valuation date, for the “highest and best use” of the property.  The determination of what constitutes the fair market value of your property is often a matter of dispute and if agreement cannot be reached between the owner and the State, the owner is entitled to a jury trial to determine the amount of Just Compensation to be paid.  In some cases, a property owner may be entitled to relocation assistance, which can include moving expenses, utility reconnection expenses, and even a payment to assist in the purchase of a comparable home.

Alternatively, it is possible that the State will only need to take a portion of a property-owner’s land for the Purple Line.  If that occurs, you will be entitled to be reimbursed for the value of the land taken, and any damages caused to the remainder of the land that the property owner still owns.  Consider, as an example, a case in which portion of a property owner’s front yard is taken, which includes the loss of buffering trees and landscaping.  In such a case, the value of the remaining property may be diminished as a result of the taking and that loss would be compensable.

Finally, the State authority may need less than all of your rights in the property, or it may only need your property temporarily during construction.  In those cases, the State will condemn an easement over your property—either temporarily or permanently—depending on the need. The State must pay full Just Compensation for the value of any property rights so taken.

The governmental acquisition of property will be discussed in more detail in part III of this series.

For additional information on property rights and to view an Owner’s Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland click here.

For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact Joe Suntum.





The Purple Line and You; Part I


This is a three-part series written by Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain Attorneys discussing Purple Line and how it may impact residents in its path.

You’ve probably heard, by now, about the Purple Line.  It is a 16-mile transit line that will extend from New Carrolton to Bethesda, tracing the inner circle of Route 495 through Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, connecting the Metro Red Line and providing public transportation access to MARC, Amtrak, and bus lines.  While the project has been in the works for years, Governor O’Malley recently announced that the State has earmarked substantial funds towards design, construction and land acquisition for the Purple Line.  The project is one of the State’s highest priority transportation projects. 

How might the Purple Line impact you?

Of course, to most people, the Purple Line will mean more-accessible public transportation throughout the area.  That is, after all, the purpose of it.  As with many transportation projects, however, the authorities will need to acquire land upon which it will be constructed.  Some of that construction may occur on existing roadways and State-owned right-of-way, but some of it will also occur over existing privately-owned residential and commercial property.  This means that some property owners will lose part or all of their private property to this public project.  View proposed Purple Line in your neighborhood.  It is expected that the government may begin acquiring property for the Purple Line as early as this fall—even before the complete project is funded. The acquisition of property for the Purple Line is possible through the exercise of the government’s power of “eminent domain.”

The governmental power of “Eminent Domain” will be discussed in more detail in Part II of this series.

For additional information on property rights and to view an Owner’s Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland click here.

For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact Joe Suntum.





The Washington Post Reports Purple Line Plans Soon Could Displace Businesses, Residents


Construction of a light-rail Purple Line through the Maryland suburbs is at least two years away.  However, Maryland Transit Administration may begin buying land in Silver Spring as early as September, when the state expects a Purple Line to receive federal environmental approval. 

Read the entire Washington Post article published on July 7.  
 
Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.





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