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Right-of-Way Acquisition

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What we do:

  • We acquire land and easements (right-of-way) for roadway and stormwater facilities through negotiation or condemnation.
  • Florida Constitution provides that property may not be taken for public purposes without the payment of full compensation.
  • This is not to be confused with Right-of-Way Permitting, which deals with permits for driveway and other construction within the right-of-way.
  • Also not to be confused with Real Property Management, which deals with property acquisitions for sewer and water-related projects, parks and recreation, and with leasing of County property.
  • For information on properties in Collier County, including owner, street address, ID/folio number and aerial photography, go to Collier County Property Appraiser.

The Acquisition Process:

  • Planners identify need for additional roadway and stormwater management capacity.
  • Professional engineers develop construction plans for the proposed improvements.
  • Right-of-way acquisition specialists conduct a field review to determine the impact on private property.
  • Property owners are usually contacted at 60% design stage when legal descriptions and sketches of the required right-of-way are prepared.
  • State certified real estate appraisers develop estimates of the full compensation to be offered to property owners from whom land or easements are required.
  • Written offers to purchase are mailed to property owners.
  • Once an agreement is reached, a written purchase agreement is prepared and, once fully executed, culminates in a typical real estate closing.
  • If no agreement is reached, the County may have to condemn the property to keep construction of the project on schedule. See below for further details.

Eminent Domain and Condemnation Process:

What is 'Eminent Domain'?

  • Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property for public use. 
  • Condemnation is the legal process by which private property is acquired under the power of eminent domain.

The Condemnation Process:

  • At County level, only the Board of County Commissioners may authorize condemnation proceedings.
  • Where land or easements are condemned or “taken” through eminent domain, requirements are that the taking is necessary and for a public purpose, and the County is prepared to deposit a good faith estimate of full compensation in the court registry.
  • If these requirements are met, the court will issue an order of taking and, upon deposit of the good faith estimate of full compensation, title to the property passes to the condemning authority.
  • Final compensation is finalized by future settlement negotiations or a jury trial.
  • Statutory provisions governing the power of eminent domain may be found in Chapters 73, 74 and 127 of the Florida Statutes.

 

Golden Gate Blvd

What is 'Full Compensation'?

  • Full compensation requires that the property owner be made whole or fully compensated for all losses caused by the taking. This includes the value of the property taken, damages to the remainder property, costs to cure such damages, and reimbursement for statutory attorney fees and reasonable expert costs. 
  • In certain circumstances, business damages must also be paid.

What should you do if you are served with condemnation lawsuit papers?

  • Our goal is always to negotiate amicable purchases with you in all cases, whether before or after the filing of condemnation proceedings. Our hope is that you will give us the opportunity to do so before you consult an attorney.
  • The condemning authority is required to pay your attorney fee equal to a percentage of the benefit the attorney achieves for you. In limited instances, the attorney is entitled to an hourly fee.
  • The condemning authority must also pay your reasonable expert fees, for example real estate appraisers and civil engineers.
  • Negotiations for a final settlement of compensation will continue after a condemnation suit is filed.
  • You will need to consult an attorney unless you are able and willing to represent yourself in these legal proceedings.
This page has been prepared for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter. You may desire to consult an attorney of your choosing before acting upon any information provided on this website.

 

 

Revised 8-22-18