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.