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What is a blighted area under eminent domain in Delaware?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2021 | Land Use And Zoning

Eminent domain is a unique and often misunderstood aspect of Delaware law. People who own property are not expecting the state to simply take it for its own use. However, it is a legal act and can be done under certain circumstances. Of course, the property owner is entitled to fair payment for the property. Still, it is important to understand the justifications for the property being seized under eminent domain. One part of the law is if it is a “blighted” area.

What is a blighted area?

Communities strive to have properties in the area boost its perception. If a property is in such condition that it is deemed a liability, it can be subject to eminent domain. There are several requirements for an area to be categorized as blighted. If the structures on the property are unsanitary, broken down or deteriorated to the point where it is unsafe for people to live, it falls into this category. It will also be considered blighted if the property was used for certain purposes and is no longer used as such to the point where it has fallen into disrepair and is untenable to maintain, reducing the area’s value. Vacant land can also be deemed blighted if it has been unimproved for at least 10 years.

When the property is not used properly and it endangers life or property as a fire hazard or causes other dangers, it can be declared blighted under eminent domain. Currently, it is trendy for downtrodden neighborhoods to be rebuilt and transformed. If there is a lot that is unimproved in an area that is built up and it is strewn with trash and accumulation of debris that results in rodent infestation; depreciates the area; is a public nuisance; is an attraction and danger to area children; has disconnected utilities, plumbing and facilities; will cost too much to maintain safety, prevent crime and shoulder costs to the state in prosecution resources; and has contributed to families and businesses leaving the area, it can be considered blighted.

For eminent domain issues, it may be helpful to consult with legal professionals

For property owners who are confronted with eminent domain for a blighted area or for any other reason, it is important to have legal protection. It might be beneficial to have the property taken under eminent domain as long as the full value is paid. In other situations, the owner might want to retain it and make the improvements. Regardless, it is important to have legal assistance to understand how the process works. Calling for a consultation can provide information about all aspects of eminent domain and condemnation.