Eminent domain is a legal concept many property owners fear because it means the government or one of its agents may take their land for its purposes. Even though the entity or agency may offer compensation for the land, in some cases, that compensation will not adequately replace the value of the property. Members of one Texas church are currently fighting to keep their land after the city decided to build a new fire station on it.
The plot of land is across the street from the existing fire station, but the city wants its new station on the church’s land. Members of the church do not understand why the city wants this particular piece of land. They are taking legal action to protect their rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Not out of options
Although the congregation has a church building about 20 minutes away, they acquired the plot of land 15 years ago. They regularly use that location to hold church activities and to minister to the small community through clothing drives and food distribution. The congregation has been raising money to build a permanent facility for their charitable works to the community. They have filed a motion to stop the city from taking the land.
The elements of eminent domain can be complex, and it is not always easy to protect land from government seizure. Even if the property owners agree to the taking of their land, there is no guarantee that the amount offered will fairly compensate them for their losses. It is wise for Texas property owners to seek knowledgeable advice before giving up their land.