On Tuesday, the City of Bozeman grappled with employing one of the more interesting real estate practices – eminent domain. Eminent domain is when a government body forcibly purchases private land from an individual for the overall benefit of the public. Eminent domain can be a very hot topic because it draws people’s basic political philosophies on the government’s role towards its people into a real estate conversation—two things I think most of us would like to keep at a comfortable distance from each other.
In this specific case, a property owner nearby the land in question wanted to develop his own land. The Bridger Creek HOA did not grant him an easement that would have allowed him to connect the development to city water and sewer lines and building emergency roads. The HOA said its members were not interested in having more developments nearby. When they couldn’t settle the dispute between each other, they turned to the city to solve the matter. If Bozeman were to take eminent domain over the land, then the owner would be allowed to connect his utilities to city lines.
Bozeman, however, decided not to get involved and not annex the land. The city felt that such a drastic measure did not match up with the number of citizens who may benefit down the line. However, several commissioners saw the HOA’s attempt to block the eminent domain request as a thinly veiled way to fight any future development in the area.
Eminent domain is one of the more interesting real estate topics. In general, it’s a tool best used only when necessary because more often than not someone has to come out the loser.
Hart Real Estate Solutions