When challenging an action for eminent domain, the property owner generally has two avenues. The two avenues that can be used to stop or challenge a taking are found in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. First, the property owner can challenge the taking on the grounds of “public use.” Second, the property owner can challenge the taking on the grounds of “just compensation.”
In the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the government is limited to taking property for “public use.” At first glance, most might think the application of this law would only allow the government to take land that the public will directly enjoy using. This would entail things such as parks, roads, railways, etc.
However, in recent years, the Court has expanded “public use” to include takings that will allow for economic development. Therefore, it has become more difficult to argue against the public use requirement. However, by consulting an eminent domain attorney, a property owner will be able to determine whether they can argue that point or not.
The North Carolina Supreme Court stated its own “public use” test. The test asks whether the taking is for a public use that is for the general public, not a use by (or for) particular individuals. This test mirrors the Federal test closely. This means that the implications are basically the same.
In essence, the only way to truly stop an eminent domain case is to prove that the taking is not for a valid public use. If a property is condemned so that a casino in a remote location may be built, then it is more likely a public use will not be found. However, most property owners argue with the government on the issue of just compensation. Again, without proving the taking is not for a valid public use, then the property will be taken. The property owner at that point should then focus on getting their best price possible.