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Kentucky Eminent Domain Process

The majority of eminent domain cases in Kentucky meet the requirement for public purpose and necessity. Examples of cases that meet these criteria are: property acquisition for highway improvement projects, and acquisitions for utility projects such as installation of power lines and sewer systems. If the taking of your property meets the requirements for public purpose or public necessity, then continue reading to learn more about the eminent domain process in the state of Kentucky. Please note that there are extended explanations for all of the numbered sections in the flow chart. Additionally, links to specific state statues are also provided, where applicable. Please be aware that the flow chart and explanations are simply an overview of the process and should not be used as a tool to take matters into your own hands. If the taking of your property does not meet the requirement for public purpose and necessity, then you should learn more about your property rights in Kentucky. KY-flowchart

Extended Flow Chart Information (click to open)

1. Government Announces Project & Properties Affected}
Typically during project development, the condemning authority (whether that agency is the Department of Transportation, or a City/County Planning Division, etc.) will hold public meetings to inform the public of the upcoming project and how this project will affect private property.
2. Property Owner Hires Attorney
Often times, attorneys who do not work with eminent domain cases on a regular basis lack the experience and understanding of the eminent domain process and your rights as a property owner. Hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in eminent domain will help ensure maximum compensation for your loss.
3. Government Inspects and Values Property
The condemning authority must provide the property owner with at least 10 days notice before entering a property to conduct an appraisal. (KRS § 416.560(4))
7. Property Owner Selects Appraiser to Determine True Value
It is highly recommended to consult with an eminent domain attorney prior to obtaining a second appraisal. An eminent domain attorney will thoroughly review the initial appraisal and determine its strengths and weaknesses. Based on this information, the attorney will indicate a selection for the most qualified appraiser to value the property in question and determine the damages to any remaining parcel. Remember, selecting an appraiser not qualified to value the property in question can negatively impact the amount of compensation the property owner is owed. Visit our Resources page, under Why Act Now to read an example of how hiring the wrong appraiser can hurt your claim. Make sure you consult with an eminent domain attorney before hiring an appraiser on your own.
12. Government Files Petition in Circuit Court to Condemn Property
Before the condemning authority may initiate an eminent domain proceeding, it must get approval from a local governing body. (KRS § 416.560(1)) Once approved, a petition must be filed in the Circuit Court of the county in which the condemned property in question is located. (KRS § 416.570)
13. Circuit Court Appoints 3 Commissioners to Determine Value of Property Within 15 Days
The Circuit Court will appoint as commissioners three impartial landowners within the county to view the land sought to be condemned. (KRS § 416.580) They will determine a sum to be paid to the property owner that reflects the value of the land being taken, and the reduction in value to any remaining parcel. If land will be leased to the condemning authority, they will determine a fair lease amount. Within 15 days of appointment, they will create a report that lists their award and findings that will be presented to the Circuit Court. (KRS § 416.580)
14. If No Challenge to Right to Take is Made, Circuit Court Authorizes Taking By Introductory Damages
If the summons is not answered within 20 days, the court will order approval for the use of eminent domain, and then authorize the condemning authority to take possession of the property. Authorization is granted upon payment of commissioner’s award to the property owner or the clerk of court. (KRS § 416.610(1, 2 (c))) If the condemning authority deposits the award amount with the clerk of court, the property owner can petition the court to withdrawal this money.  Subject to any liens or outstanding taxes owed on the property, the property owner will be entitled to receive this money.
15. Either Party Can Appeal by Filing Exceptions
If any exceptions are filed at this point, they must pertain solely to the amount of compensation awarded to the property owner. If filing an exception, it must be filed within 30 days of the Court’s authorization of eminent domain. If no exceptions are filed, the Circuit Court will make orders for the title transfer of the property and the final judgment will be made. (KRS § 416.620 (1))
16. Jury Trial on Compensation
If possession of the property had not previously been taken by the condemning authority for a specified reason, it may be done upon payment of the awarded compensation to the property owner by the jury. (KRS § 416.620 (1))

If you have questions regarding the eminent domain process in Kentucky, contact us for more information. The eminent domain process in the state of Kentucky is complicated, and if you are undergoing eminent domain and want to make sure you are justly compensated, you should speak to an eminent domain attorney. Speaking to an eminent domain attorney regarding your case will keep you informed of your rights, the eminent domain process, and whether or not your attorney’s fees will be paid for by the state of Kentucky.

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