Areas of Expertise

Eminent domain

The notion of Eminent Domain refers to the power of the government to seize private property for a public purpose without the owner’s consent. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from taking private property for public use without just compensation and the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state government from condemning private property without due process of law.

Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property the use in a public project in return for reasonable compensation — i.e. a compensation based on the fair market value of the property — plus severance damages.

Abuse of Eminent Domain

The government has repeatedly cited the “Takings Clause” to justify taking private property without owner’s consent. The law restricts the government from taking private property except when required for the public good – e.g. building a fort during a time of war.

But in 2005 a Supreme Court decision severely undermined the protections offered by the Takings Clause and greatly expanded the state’s power to seize private property.

In Kelo vs. City of New London, the Supreme Court held that economic development constituted a “public use” that justified the taking of private property through eminent domain. This decision makes it legal for the government to use eminent domain to seize your property whenever it deems it necessary under the cover of “economic development.”

Abuse of eminent domain is rampant. A simple search on “eminent domain abuse” in Google yields over 200,000 results. Any family could be impacted, and this is the reason why it is important, considering the complexity of the issue and the powers given to the government, to have a very experienced attorney by your side if eminent domain is applied to one of your properties.

What if you are notified that your land could be appropriated under eminent domain?

The law provides that you are justly or fairly compensated in this event.

  • Your land must fetch its fair market value
  • If a part of your land is condemned because of this action, you may be entitled to severance damages
  • If there are some fixtures or equipment on your land, you ought to be offered compensation for their loss
  • In certain circumstances, if you have property over the land, you may receive precondemnation damages
  • If you need to relocate, you ought to receive relocation costs

The process of eminent domain is complex. It is not to be taken lightly or in any amateurish way. You won’t get optimum compensation or event defend your interests adequately without the help of an attorney specialized in eminent domain.

I recommend that we make a first contact over the phone. You will explain the specifics of the situation of your property, whether real-estate or land. You will let me know what you have been notified of already. At this point, I will most likely be able to determine how far the eminent domain process has already progressed.

Depending on the data you provide, and on your own judgment, you may decide to retain my eminent domain attorney services to ensure your interests are correctly defended and you get the maximum compensation you are entitled under the law.

In any case, do not procrastinate. Call me at (520) 260-2007 to discuss the particulars of the case. This consultation is free and do not obligate you in any way.

Land use

My clients rely on me to handle legal and regulatory matters in regards to complicated and sometimes controversial land uses.

Whether you need to obtain approvals for a project, or buy/sell property, expand your operations, etc., there are State, federal and local laws that apply, more than often generating unexpected costs and headaches.

I help you navigate simple and complex issues to overcome difficult challenges so that you focus on your business goals with greater clarity.

I offer a deep knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment, a solid understanding of local issues; I also bring you the benefits of long-standing relationships with regulators, technical experts, key decision-makers and community stakeholders.

Call me at (520) 260-2007 to discuss your project over the phone.

Planning & zoning

Tucson metropolitan zoning ordinances are local laws that define building codes and land usage regulations for properties in the area. Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, Vail and other cities in our region are comprised of areas zoned for residential, commercial and industrial development.

These zones are often subdivided into sub-zones with additional use restrictions (type of businesses permitted, etc). Zoning laws and ordinances may affect issues such as customer parking, setbacks, access for deliver trucks, number and types of employees permitted, usage of signs and other forms of advertising.

If you plan to set up, expand or relocate your business, it is vital that you become familiar with these ordinances. At the very least, you ought to check with the zoning office and licensing board of the City, to find out restrictions that may apply to your business within city limits.

Even neighborhoods may have specific land use regulations that you ought to research prior to finalizing any business plan. The consequences of signage ordinances, for instance, can make or break a business.

I have significant experience in helping clients navigate the complex and sometimes not-so-clear planning and zoning ordinances applicable to businesses.

Call me at (520) 260-2007 to discuss your project over the phone: if you observe that I can help you not only have a clear view of your rights but also present your case to city commissioners, we will then meet in person and start going into the details of your file.