Eminent Domain Insight: When ODOT Needs Your Property

Sophia R. Holley

The Ohio Department of Transportation has statutory authority to appropriate real property, but there are limitations to this authority. Among other limitations, ODOT must pay just compensation for the take.

If ODOT seeks to acquire your property, it must make a good faith offer of compensation for this taking. This good faith offer is made based upon an appraisal conducted by an appraiser of ODOT’s choosing. It can be incredibly valuable to select an appraiser of your choosing to evaluate the take. Your appraiser can further evaluate the offer of compensation provided by ODOT. If you are unable to reach a compromise with the Ohio Department of Transportation regarding the value of the take, you may have the value determined through the courts. 

Compensation provided by ODOT will include the value of land (and improvements) taken, damages to the land (and improvements) not taken, and temporary easements, if any. Sometimes the take only relates to a portion of your property, and sometimes it can include the entire property. The take can also relate to temporary easements only. 

The process of valuing takings is incredibly fact intensive, and it can be helpful to have a professional appraiser value the damage to the property. Ohio Jury Instructions direct a jury to award the property owner the amount of money that constitutes the “fair market value” of the property taken, which is defined as the amount a purchaser who is willing, but not required to buy, would pay and that a seller who is willing, but not required to sell, would accept, when both are fully aware and informed of all the circumstances involving the value and use of the property. It is important to identify all the facts supporting the value of your property, and this is an area that an appraiser can help with.  

Keep in mind that settlement is a possibility for an ODOT appropriation, as is a jury trial before a jury of your peers. Throughout the appropriation process, the Ohio Department of Transportation will be represented by legal counsel. To help you evaluate how to proceed forward and to help advocate for your property rights, it can be helpful for you to be represented by legal counsel, too.

Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Sophia Holley.

Sophia R. Holley

KMK Law articles and blog posts are intended to bring attention to developments in the law and are not intended as legal advice for any particular client or any particular situation. The laws/regulations and interpretations thereof are evolving and subject to change. Although we will attempt to update articles/blog posts for material changes, the article/post may not reflect changes in laws/regulations or guidance issued after the date the article/post was published. Please consult with counsel of your choice regarding any specific questions you may have.


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