So, your property was condemned by the city’s eminent domain power. Now what? If this happened to you in Texas, you might be wondering if the land that is being taken is considered as one tract or not. Luckily, there’s an answer to this question. It turns out, if your land is divided into separate tracts but used as one tract, then they are all considered as a whole. Let’s dive deeper.
Texas Power & Light Co. v. Walker, 559 S.W. 2d 403 (Tex. Civ. App. — Texarkana 1977, no writ)
Facts and Procedural History
Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Walker owned 140 acres all used for cattle ranching. The land was divided into two tracts by a county road. These tracts are referred to as the northeastern half and the southwestern half but operated as one unit. Texas Power & Light Co. had an easement that only went over the southwestern half. At the time of the taking, the land was solely used for cattle ranching. For purposes of calculating damages, the land was considered devoted to an “unity of use”. This means the parcels will be considered as an entirety when estimating the damage of the remaining land after part of it has been taken for public use.
Texas Power & Light claimed that the unity of use rule was inapplicable because witnesses claimed that the best use for their land would be to subdivide and sell their land into tracts. There have been cases in the past that have held that if the owner had unity of use at the time of the taking, but abandons that unity for an inconsistent use, he loses his ability to claim unity.
The court disagreed with Texas Power & Light. The court held that just because witnesses claimed that would be the best use of the land, does not mean that the land is or will be used in that way. Therefore, the Walker’s are not precluded from the unity of use rule.
Main Considerations of Property Hearing
If an owner’s land is divided into two separate tracts, but is used as one unit, can it be considered one tract in eminent domain cases?
Yes. Through the unity of use rule, if an owner’s land is divided into separate tracts, but used as one tract, the land will be considered in its entirety for the purposes of calculating damages.
If a witness expresses the highest and best use of the land, even if it is not the current use of the land, can the opinions preclude the owner from using the unity of use rule?
No. The opinions of the highest and best use of land does not change what the actual use of land is.
Texas Power & Light Co. v. Walker shows that land that is divided into separate tracts can still be considered as one tract under the unity of use rule. It also shows that the opinions of witnesses on the highest and best use of land does not preclude the owner from using the unity of use rule.
What are the rules of eminent domain?
Eminent domain is the right of the government to take private property for public use. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows the government to do this, but only if the taking is for “public use” and if just compensation is paid to the owner.
In Texas, eminent domain law is governed by Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code. The law gives the entity acquiring the property a broad definition of what constitutes “public use.” For example, public use can include taking property for roads, schools, or utility lines. It can also encompass taking property for economic development, such as building a new factory or shopping center.
Under Texas law, a divided tract of land can be considered one unit for purposes of eminent domain. This means that if the government wants to take part of a large parcel of land for a public project, it can do so without having to first divide the land into separate tracts. This rule makes it easier for the government to acquire the property it needs for public projects.
If you’re facing eminent domain in Texas, it’s important to understand your rights and options. An experienced attorney can help you protect your interests and get just compensation for you.
What is the difference between condemnation and eminent domain?
When most people think of eminent domain, they think of the government taking private property for “public use”, such as building a road or a school. This is technically called “condemnation”. However, eminent domain also includes the power of the government to take property for other reasons, such as economic development or even just because the government wants to.
In Texas, there is a special law that applies to condemnation proceedings. This law, called “quick take”, allows the government to take possession of the property immediately, without first having to go through a lengthy legal process. The owner is then compensated at a later date.
The quick take law has been controversial, because it allows the government to take property without first proving that there is a “public use” for it. For example, in one recent case, the city of San Antonio used eminent domain to take a family’s home in order to make way for a luxury hotel. The family was compensated, but they were forced to move out of their home immediately.
How is eminent domain applied Texas?
In Texas, eminent domain is the power of the state to take private property for public use. The Texas Constitution grants this power to the Legislature, and the Legislature has delegated it to various state agencies and political subdivisions. For example, the Texas Department of Transportation has the power of eminent domain to take land for roads and highways.
Eminent domain can be a controversial issue because it allows the government to take away people’s homes, businesses, or other property for public projects that may not benefit them directly. Some people argue that eminent domain is necessary for the government to be able to build roads, schools, and other infrastructure that benefits the public as a whole. Others argue that the government should not have the power to take away people’s property without just compensation.
In Texas, there are some restrictions on how eminent domain can be used. For example, divided land cannot be taken as one tract under eminent domain. This means that if a piece of property is divided into two or more tracts by a road or other barrier, each tract must be evaluated separately for eminent domain purposes.
What are the 3 elements of eminent domain?
The answer to this question may surprise some people. In Texas, the law is very clear that when a landowner owns two or more tracts of land that are not touching each other, each tract is considered to be a separate unit for eminent domain purposes. This means that if the government wants to take one of the tracts, the owner cannot stop them from taking the other tract as well.
The reason for this is because the government is allowed to take any property it needs for public use. If the government only needs one of the tracts, it can still take both tracts if they are not touching each other. This is because the government does not have to show that it needs both tracts, just that it needs one of them.
Some people may think that this is unfair, but it is important to remember that the government can only take property for public use. This means that the property must be used for something that will benefit the public, such as a road or a school. The government cannot take property for private use, such as a private business.
If you own property in Texas that is not touching another piece of property, each piece is considered to be a separate unit for eminent domain purposes.
What property is exempt from eminent domain?
The Texas eminent domain process allows the state to seize private property for public use. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. One exemption is for divided land that is used as one tract. This means that if the land is divided into multiple parcels, but is still used as a single unit, it is not subject to eminent domain.