Condemnation actions involving high voltage power lines are among the most damaging for landowners. According to experts, power lines located on or near a property can reduce its value by 10% to 40%. There are several reasons for this. Living close to power lines is perceived as being harmful to human health. But more than any other reason, power lines are an eyesore, obscuring otherwise pristine views.
Utility companies require large tracts of land to support their infrastructure. Power lines in particular require a linear path that can stretch potentially hundreds of miles. Unfortunately, for landowners in Texas, government agencies and utility companies often bring condemnation actions against them seeking to take a portion or all of their land. When this occurs, experienced high voltage power line lawyers can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive compensation for the damages that you incur.
Your Rights in a Texas Power Lines Condemnation Case
The U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution afford landowners important rights in condemnation cases. You are entitled to the right of due process. The condemning authority cannot just take your property. They must follow the procedures outlined in Texas eminent domain laws. This includes providing you with adequate notice and providing you with an opportunity to challenge their exercise of eminent domain or the amount of your compensation in court, if necessary.
The condemning authority is required to pay landowners “just” and “adequate” compensation for their property, which generally means the fair market value of the property (the amount a third party could pay if buying your property). This value is determined by an appraisal that the condemning authority is required to conduct before initiating the condemnation case.
Determining fair market value in power line cases, however, is not always straightforward. Utility companies usually only require a right-of-way easement. This can be a small path that runs across the property, or the utility company may require a larger portion depending on the configuration of the property relative to the proposed path of the power lines.
To make way for power lines, utility companies often cut down trees or trim branches, or remove permanent structures such as flower beds, swimming pools, or even farming infrastructure. These factors, combined with the presence of power lines on your property, will diminish the fair market value of your land.
How High Voltage Power Line Lawyers Can Help
Receiving a notice of a condemnation action can be incredibly stressful and confusing for landowners. Texas eminent domain laws are complex, and utility companies often employ large law firms that are experts at getting property owners to accept less compensation than they deserve. Since the presence of power lines can significantly diminish the value of your property, you must protect your interests to receive adequate compensation.
When seeking potential high voltage power line lawyers to represent you in your condemnation case, assess their qualifications and experience. You want an attorney that has proven experience representing landowners in condemnation actions in Texas. Many condemnation attorneys represent government agencies or utility companies. This can create a conflict of interest that can prevent attorneys from acting impartially to fight for your rights. Moreover, you want a condemnation lawyer that has experience representing landowners in condemnation actions involving utility companies and high voltage power lines.
Help for Texas Landowners
The high voltage power line lawyers at the Padua Law Firm have many years of experience representing landowners in condemnation actions throughout the state of Texas. Our lawyers will help you to navigate the condemnation process while ensuring that your rights under Texas eminent domain laws are protected. We understand how to investigate the extent that your property value will be diminished by power lines and can dispute utility company valuations to maximize your compensation.
If you’re facing a condemnation action in Texas, contact the experienced high voltage power line lawyers at Padua Law Firm today to discuss your rights and options.