When easements and rights of way are condemned causing an occupant to move or modify the use of personal property, state and federal procedures apply. Learn more about who is eligible for relocation benefits and the top 5 categories of relocation benefits within state regulations and Federal Uniform Act. Find out what you can do as an eminent domain attorney, appraiser, or right-of-way professional that will improve the results of your work.
The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (URA), for federally assisted programs, requires condemning public agencies to provide relocation advisory services as described in part 49 CFR 24.205(c). Find out what can happen to a business while relocating from a public project when the condemning agency stumbles with this requirement, and, hear some solutions.
As a relocation consultant, I’m looking forward to sharing insights on this subject at this seminar: 7th Annual Eminent Domain; Current Developments in Condemnation, Valuation & Challenges, June 5th and 6th 2014, in Portland, OR.
Eminent domain attorneys, appraisers, and public agency representatives should hear this.
The seminar is arranged by The Seminar Group. Following is the link to the agenda and registration: http://www.theseminargroup.net/seminar.lasso?seminar=14.EMDOR
Martyn Daniel LLC provides relocation consulting, cost-to-cure designs and estimates, and replacement cost estimates within the right-of-way industry for public and private sectors around the U.S.
When a business must relocate due to eminent domain, help from the agency is available but there are limitations to that assistance which business owners need to know.
When faced with eminent domain, an agent is assigned to each relocating business.
The agent’s services include:
- An explanation of eligible reimbursement categories for relocation costs
- Answering questions
- Obtaining moving bids
- Submitting relocation reimbursement claims
It is important to note that the agent is not required to plan for the move. Planning the details of the move is the responsibility of the business owner.
And that can be a problem.
A business owner must maintain his business operations before the move occurs. It is important that the operation continues to produce goods and services to minimize unprofitable down-time. No business owner wants to lose much needed revenue before and during the relocation negotiation process. Employees and other operational expenses still need to be paid.
But the inevitable will occur…the business will need to relocate to make way for whatever improvement is to be in the space the business now occupies.
So planning a proper move is vital to a seamless relocation.
A business owner must find a new location for the business; however, other than providing real estate listings, the agent does not assist with this vital aspect of the eminent domain process.
One major obstacle that business owners face is that they are not typically versed in construction details. A business owner may find a good location for the business but the building may not be turnkey. If for example, machinery must be moved, special considerations must be made to ensure that the new location can house the machines.
How will a business owner know if the new site needs major upgrades to accommodate relocating machinery and/or office equipment?
Hiring an attorney will certainly help the business owner understand his legal rights but will these individuals have construction knowledge? Will they know if a business owner needs additional plumbing to accommodate special equipment? Will an attorney recognize that a relocating business owner has an opportunity to replace older equipment with updated equipment and can use relocation benefits to make this positive change?
An agent will submit a relocation claim to the agency for reimbursement but the business owner is responsible for recognizing the opportunity for any upgrades and must also plan for a seamless transition.
No two businesses are the same. Every business is unique so a ‘one size fits all’ approach to relocation will not work. Unfortunately, the agent does not have the time to spend with each business owner to plan individual moves. But more importantly, it is not just about relocating from one space to another…it is about making the move to the new location better than the last.
Many relocating businesses often have the opportunity to make improvements that might have been planned on paper but never initiated at the original site due to lack of space, time or available funding. So relocating to a new site can often mean a fresh start and a chance to make key strategic improvements to the overall business plan.
But again, even improvement planning is the responsibility of the business owner. The agent is only responsible for ensuring that the right-of-way is cleared and that the owner has the information available to act on the move.
In the case of the Trimet eminent domain case in Portland to make way for light rail, the agent ensures that each business owner receives an Acquisition and Relocation brochure. This is a rather informative document which offers an explanation of terms such as ‘valuation’, ‘just compensation’, and ‘condemnation’. Again, the document is simply an explanation of what the business owner is required to know but it is a ‘one size fits all’ brochure. And because each business is unique in its service or product, its culture, its size, and its needs, a personalized review of every business is needed but not a requirement by the agent. (Incidentally, an agent may be assigned to more than one business. If an owner has ever tried to reach other government agencies, such as the IRS for example, to ask questions, all any representative can really do is reiterate IRS rules and code.)
In some cases, if a relocation agent cannot respond to a business owner’s question, the agent has to take the owner’s question to the headquarters to further clarify the question. For a busy owner trying to keep the business going before the relocation transpires, any time delays could have a negative impact on the operations.
If your business must be relocated due to eminent domain, think about the best use of your time as the business owner. Will you have the support you need to make the best move possible for you and your business? Think about putting a team in place to help you find the best location for your business.
If you are faced with eminent domain, begin to plan early. Draw up a list of locations you feel may be ideal for your business. Think about what you want to accomplish…do you want a larger facility or do you want to add a warehouse or a work area? Will you have equipment which needs to be moved and will that equipment fit in the new location?