What is eminent domain?

Some people work for years to save enough money to buy tracts of land for their own personal use. While some may buy land for agricultural or business purposes, many New Jersey residents buy plots of land with the intention of building homes on them. Owning land gives individuals the freedom to work toward their goals and fulfill their dreams without the constraints of renting property from others.

It may seem as though a person's right to own their land is absolute. This, unfortunately, may not always be the case. The government retains the right to take land from private citizens, and that right is protected through the eminent domain process. This post will generally discuss what eminent domain is and how it works, but readers should not rely on its contents for legal advice.

Eminent domain only applies to privately owned land, and, generally, when the government takes privately owned land, the taking must serve a public purpose. For example, a government may take land from a private citizen if that land is needed to construct a road or highway that will serve everyone in the community.

Once land has been identified and eminent domain proceedings are under way, the affected citizen should receive just compensation for what has been taken from them. That compensation may help them become whole again, but, from time to time, questions may arise regarding what just compensation should be for a particular tract of land. Whenever eminent domain issues come up, New Jersey land owners are encouraged to contact their attorney for sound guidance on land use and property ownership rights.

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