Eminent Domain

Eminent DomainEminent Domain is another government principal that rules fee simple. Eminent domain is when the government has the right to take your properties for the good of other citizens in the city. Eminent domain is used when a government may want to build more roads, create right of ways or easements, or if the property is in bad shape they may want to tear it down to build something that will help the whole community. Eminent domain law states that the government needs to give a fair asking price for the property, but has the right to seize the property for the good of the community.

In some cases, eminent domain has gone to the Supreme Court. There are many examples of eminent domain, below show just a few of them.

There was one project in particular where eminent domain went bad. This project was the Tocks Island Dam Project. The government had seized many properties so that they could build the Tocks Island Dam. This plan was proposed in 1965 and was to build a dam across the Delaware River. The project fell through and the property that was taken is now known as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

One of the cases that ended up going to the Supreme Court was the United States V. Carmack. The case included land that was condemned and was to be used as a post office. The land however was being used currently as a public park. In a retrial, the government ruled in favor against taking the land.

Another example of eminent domain is the Berman V. Parker case. In this case, the plaintiff owned a store that was scheduled to be taken by eminent domain. The plaintiffs argued the property could not be taken just to make the city more beautiful and that the property was not a slum. He argued that taking a property from one businessperson to another was unethical. In the Supreme Court, favor was given to the planning commission.