Eminent Domain in Nevada
Nevada’s population grew by more than 14 percent over the last decade, recently surpassing 3 million residents. It was the sixth fastest-growing state in the nation, as retirees and families relocate here to enjoy lower taxes, reasonable housing prices, and sunny days year-round.
However, with all this growth comes more roads, highways, developments, and other major construction projects that can bump up against individual landowners’ property rights. This is where eminent domain laws come into play. If you or your business are facing pressure from the state of Nevada, a federal agency, or local government to sell property to make way for a significant project, you have rights.
You don’t have to face the fight alone. The skilled team of administrative attorneys at Whitehead & Burnett has helped Nevada individuals and businesses challenge eminent domain and defend private land and water rights for decades.
What happens when the government wants my property?
The State of Nevada will negotiate and attempt to buy private property like any other potential buyer. The government will try to buy your property at the lowest possible price.
If you do not agree to the sale, the state of Nevada or the local agency seeking the deal will likely begin eminent domain proceedings. Eminent domain is the legal process that allows the state of Nevada or a municipal government to force the sale of property when it believes that the property in question would serve a higher “public use,” as a new road, school, or park, for example. This “public use” necessitates its sale, according to the state. An eminent domain lawsuit by a government agency will not impact your credit rating, nor will it allege you have done anything wrong.
Can I stop the government from taking my property through eminent domain?
The government is required to show a real public necessity or useful general-purpose to prevail in an eminent domain case. If condemning your residence for a new public school or road-widening project, for example, does not meet this legal threshold, the government can be stopped from taking your property.
What if the “public use” test is met, but doesn’t the government offer a fair price for my property?
Eminent domain proceedings address a fair market value of your property. The issue of “just compensation” will not stop the government from taking the property. Suppose you can show that someone would reasonably buy your property for more than the government is offering and a court-ordered appraisal justifies a higher value. In that case, the court will decide the issue of “just compensation” based on those considerations.
The skilled administrative law team of Whitehead & Burnett has helped countless clients to protect their rights as property owners in eminent domain cases. We know how to evaluate appraisers and appraisal reports. We will never be compromised by local politics or other conflicts of interest arising from representing government agencies. Most importantly, we will not hesitate to proceed to trial with our proven eminent domain trial strategies.
PISTOL and Eminent Domain in Nevada
Not too long ago, Nevada voters twice approved an amendment to our state’s constitution known as PISTOL, the People’s Initiative to Stop the Taking of Our Land. It is based on the premise that the government should only take land that it needs and only for specific public purposes.
The amendment prohibits taking property from one private property owner to transfer it to another private entity, directly or indirectly. This is especially important in urban and suburban areas where most redevelopment agencies use public-private partnerships for large development projects.
Other provisions of the amendment create significant bargaining power for the landowner. For example, the government must now pay the highest market price for land rather than the most probable market price. Previously, the government could argue for lower “just compensation” based on the probability that the highest price would not be achieved under the facts and circumstances.
The amendment also mandates that any property taken by eminent domain must automatically revert to the original property owner upon repayment of the actual purchase price. The government does not use the property within five years for the original purpose stated.
Call Whitehead & Burnett Today
A member of our skilled administrative law team can provide you with a free evaluation of the merits of your case right over the telephone. At Whitehead & Burnett, our experienced attorneys have helped clients win the best possible outcome for their eminent domain cases in Las Vegas, Henderson, Clark County, and throughout the entire state of Nevada. Call us today at 702-267-6500 to learn more about how we can help you.