Category: Indiana Eminent Domain

LaPorte County Airport

Post-Tribune, August 5, 2007

Northwest Indiana is a prime piece of the national shipping puzzle.

A 3,000 acre parcel in LaPorte County is the potential site future site for a huge transportation hub.  The site is close to nearly all major interstates in Northwest Indiana.  

If the property owners of the tract do not respond soon to offers, eminent domain maybe used to kick them off their property.  Governments have the power to force private property owners to sell their land for the public use or for private use where there’s a substantial public benefit.

The location is a prime example of the highest and best use assembled by the government.  There is a reasonable argument that maintains that the government is the only source to assemble, but there is also an argument that part of the special value of the location should be for the benefit of the owners.

Landing Fees, July 13, 2007

The Gary/Chicago International Airport approved making a $1.6 million court deposit to secure a key stretch of land west of the main runway.  

The deposit is part of condemnation proceedings the airport initiated last year.

The authority board also approved paying the moving costs of a business located there and clean up costs. 

-Gary/Chicago International Airport will be a key foundation of redevelopment in the area. However, this is not to be a building block for one to the detriment of only the owners. Airport acquisitions are always specific and far more complicated than what first meets the eye. 

Bloomington Pipeline

Pantagraph, July 10, 2007

A Canadian company that wants to contruct a crude-oil pipeline through Central Illinois plans to file for eminet domain power near the end of the month.

Eminent domain remains a last option, however, Endbridge Inc. might begin negotiating with landowners around the same time it files for certificate of good standing…

The 170-mile pipeline would run east of Bloomington Normal from Pontiac to Patoka, affects about 95 landowners in Mclean county, 68 in Livingston County and 65 in DeWitt Count.

-A Canadian pipeline will work its way through Illinois despite the opposition of the local farmers. The issue then becomes one of how owners can be treated fairly. To simply “start negotiations” does not deal with the compensation or the valuation of pipeline takes.

At least there seems to be recognition that the tile fields will require repair.

Water Fight

News Essential, June 2007

Fort Wayne is now free to take over the Aqua Indiana water utility’s northern operation.   It will probably spend more than $1 million plus already invested in legal fees for a bad use of eminent domain – taking over a business that is working perfectly well in private hands.  

The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the original court’s decision in favor of the city, relying on the "indeterminate permit" language giving authority to "a municipality like the city to purchase its property."  And the utility does not have the authority to designate a particular condemnation procedure.

-This article attacks the basic judicial premise that individuals and corporate entities have a right to make a profit without fear of acquisition by a condemnor. However, State Supreme Courts have consistently held that when a legislature grants a local agency the authority to purchase a franchise, the local government will generally be allowed to acquire. A similar example occurred in the Township of Grosse Ile v. Grosse Ile Bridge Company action of Township of Grosse Ile v. Grosse Ile Bridge Company, Supreme Court No. 131185, Court of Appeals No. 255759.

It is incomprehensible that such deference is given to legislative bodies at the local level where a statutes allow challenges for lack of necessity. Yet, courts have consistently construed the challenge to necessity being one of whether the end use is or is not a public purpose.