Washington Eminent Domain – What is Eminent Domain, and What Authorities Can Take Property?

Eminent Domain refers to the power of the government to acquire private property for a public use.  The “public use” can consist of many things, including:

  • Roadways
  • Railways
  • Government buildings
  • Public housing
  • Parks and recreational facilities
  • Stadiums
  • Plants and other facilities, such as water treatment plants
  • Parking lots
  • Areas around roadways, railways, and other projects that the government deems necessary to further a project

The foregoing is only a partial list of projects and uses for which the government may exercise its eminent domain power.

What Governmental Authorities Can Exercise Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain can be exercised by federal and state governments, and by cities and counties in which the subject property is located.  It can also be exercised by statutory authorities and agencies which have received eminent domain authority.

In some cases, eminent domain is exercised pursuant to special development projects.  Washington State, for example, has created the Sound Transit project which is funded in part through the levy of certain taxes within the Sound Transit district in order to build and maintain the Sound Transit system.

In other cases, eminent domain may be exercised through ongoing operations, such as highway construction. Cities may also exercise eminent domain to further ongoing infrastructure needs, such as to widen a street or to build a park, or as part of significant project, such as the construction of a stadium.

What Should I Do if My Property is to be Taken by the Government?

First, understand that you have rights.  To learn about your rights, please see rights in an eminent domain case.

Second, if you feel you are being treated unfairly, such as the government is trying to take your property without paying you what it is worth, call our firm.  We offer a free consultation, and when we learn about your case, we can advise you as to your options and explain how we can help.

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

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