Make the Distinction Between Public Use and Public Purpose in Eminent Domain

April 3, 2012 — 1,193 views  

Eminent domain gives states the right to take a person's property, but understanding the legal implications of the process can help homeowners. The distinction between public use and public purpose is important to understand for those who are faced with this situation.

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees people receive the fair value of their property in eminent domain proceedings. However, establishing this value can be challenging, making it essential to comprehend the ins and outs of public use and public purpose policies.

A government may exercise eminent domain for public use - something that assists the community at large. For instance, a state may consider invoking this policy to build a school or public park, something that serves the public.

Public purpose establishes the reason for the government's need for a specific property, defining the reasons in which it will benefit a community. For example, a public park may help nearby residents by offering a safe place for families to spend time together.

People may encounter difficulties if challenging public use claims, but may have a greater chance of success in disputes involving public purpose. If a person can establish the government's stated purpose does not serve the best interests of the community, he or she could prevent approval of the claim on the land in question.