Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain

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Eminent Domain Lawyer FAQ

Can New Jersey Legally Take My Property?

If the proper channels are followed, New Jersey does legally have the right to claim your property via eminent domain. If negotiations do not result in an agreed upon selling price, the state can file a lawsuit to acquire your property if it meets the requirements for public necessity or public purpose.

Can I Stop The Government From Taking My Property?

If your property satisfies the requirements laid out by NJ law for public use and necessity, you cannot stop the government from taking your property. You can, however, fight for the compensation you receive in court. Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf has experienced eminent domain attorneys that can do that for you.

What is Fair Market Value For My Property?

When the government exercises eminent domain over your property, they are required to pay fair market value for whatever the proposed use of your property is. However, many times the government will undercut the highest and best use for your property in order to offer a lower price. You should consult with an eminent domain attorney to ensure you’re getting the correct fair market value.

What If Eminent Domain Affects My Business?

Unfortunately, in most cases, business owners are not compensated for the negative impact on their business due to the government exercising eminent domain unless it also affects the value of the real estate it sits on. However, these can be looked at on a case-by-case basis, and we encourage you to retain one of our eminent domain attorneys to maximize your compensation.

Ocean & Monmouth County Eminent Domain Lawyer

Since the early 1970’s, Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf has provided services to clients affected by eminent domain. Peter H. Wegener, a founding partner of the Firm, leads the eminent domain department. He started representing clients along Route 70 who owned land within the Township of Lakewood during the 1970’s and since then has zealously protected the rights of property owners. The department has grown significantly under Mr. Wegener’s guidance and now includes other partners and associates. The firm remains at the forefront of protecting the rights of property owners to ensure that the government does not overstep its authority. Our representation includes preventing the government from taking properties illegally and maximizing the value property owners receive from the government when their property is taken. In condemnation proceedings, we provide guidance from the initial governmental action and offer, through the commission hearing process and through trial and appeal, if necessary.

As a result of the hundred cases handled over about fifty years, Mr. Wegener has made significant contributions to the field of eminent domain jurisprudence.

Mr. Wegener has been in the vanguard of property attorneys in developing an expanded concept of  “highest and best use” by developing a line of cases including State v. Hope Assoc., 206 N.J. Super. 633 (App. Div. 1993), modified​, 136 N.J. 27 (1994); State v. Caioli, 135 N.J. 252 (1994); County of Monmouth v. Hilton, 334 N.J. Super. 582 (App. Div. 2000); and State v. Simon, 367 N.J. Super. 242 (App. Div. 2004). Mr. Wegener has helped make the difficult path to “just compensation” a little more sure.

While the firm specializes in representing property owners, we have also represented public entities such as the Howell Township Board of Education, Township of Lakewood, Township of Brick, the Township of Toms River, and the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, as well as other municipalities and public entities in acquiring property for schools, land preservation, and other public purposes

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