Downtown Beaver Dam Property Owner Confused About Condemnation

Education & Training with French Real Estate

The Internet is undoubtedly the greatest research tool in all history, but it still comes down to the person interpreting all that information to apply it.  One man is making a critical error.

A little background information: Much of our downtown in Beaver Dam, WI was built over a river.  Over the past few years, the river has flooded, causing significant damage, and catching the attention of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

The DNR has indicated that it will use its condemnation power to order these building removed from the water-way, which is held in the public trust.  The City of Beaver Dam stepped in with a plan to purchase all the buildings in the water-way and remove them, thereby alleviating the financial burden on the owner.  If the owners did not accept the offer from the City, they would then risk condemnation from the DNR, and would not be paid one dime for their building and would have to pay to have their building removed (demolished).  All but one accepted the offer.

This lone hold-out researched "condemnation" on the Internet and came to the conclusion that: If the DNR did condemn his property, he must be "fairly compensated" under the Constitution of the United States.  It is extremely unfortunate that our friend has not the benefit of legal council.  He has confused the two types of condemnation.  There is the taking of a property by the government for which just compensation must be paid, and then there is condemnation when the improvements on a property are illegal as defined by local ordinance, statute or law.  Condemnation for these non-conforming properties does not require just compensation.

I hope our lone hold-out gets some council (other than the Internet) soon


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