In this video, Condemnation Rights Attorney Philip Hundl talks about road expansion projects in Fort Bend County and how property owners are being impacted by the associated condemnation actions. Call or text 800-266-4870 for an appointment. Appointments can be online, by phone or in person.
Summary of the Road Expansion Projects Video
Hi, I’m Philip Hundl and I practice eminent domain law, representing landowners facing condemnation cases. Those condemnation cases might be from pipeline companies or the State of Texas through TxDOT with the road expansion projects. They might also be high voltage transmission line projects from CenterPoint, Entergy and companies like that.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about road expansion projects. We’re seeing a lot of road expansion projects in Fort Bend County, Texas. Other road expansion projects are happening over the Texas. There’s Highway 59 through Wharton County and Fort Bend County as well.
So I’d like to talk to you briefly about those project. I’d also like to give you some information to think about if your property is affected.
Sometimes the road expansion projects in your area are on the TxDOT website. Your project might also be on a county website if it’s a county condemnation project.
A lot of times we hear about these projects years before anything happens. Sometimes nothing happens for a long, long time, but we hear about these upcoming projects. One project that most people have heard about is the Southwest portion of the Grand Parkway.
So please keep that in mind that the timeframe on these projects are oftentimes very long. You need to have patience. Once the project ‘begins’, the state hires right-of-way agents, or right-of-way acquisition companies. There are several that they seem to use more than others.
The Condemnation Process Can be Very Lengthy
That right-of-way acquisition process, or surveying and valuation process, can be a very lengthy. Lots of landowners become impatient with the process, and wonder why things aren’t moving as fast they might in a private condemnation. The private condemnation example might be a pipeline or power line. So the first thing I always like to say is with these TxDOT projects is that they’re on a lot longer timeframe.
Talk with a Lawyer Before Signing a Right of Entry Agreement
When they want to enter your property for surveying purposes, they’ll have their own simple one-page right of entry agreement for you to sign. Be careful with that. I always suggest that landowners find an attorney who represents landowners in eminent domain and condemnation. Your attorney can help you with a more limited right of entry agreement.
With the more limited right of entry agreement, the state has the ability to go on your property, but there are some protections for you. They can do their surveying, and their appraisal of your property, but some of your rights are protected too.
Visit with an attorney so that the attorney can talk to you about the information you do and don’t need to share with them. It’s really important.
Talk with an Attorney About the Highest and Best Use of Your Property
The valuation of your land will come down to dollars per square foot of property taken. That valuation is based on the highest and best use of the property. For these county roads that are now being expanded, the highest and best use is usually commercial property.
Appraisals are very subjective. One appraiser may believe that the highest and best use is something other than a different appraiser. So I suggest you visit with an attorney who is familiar with appraisals and valuation in road expansion projects. Your attorney can explain the valuation of your property, and what is included in your damage calculation. Your attorney can also explain the timeframe and the steps in the road expansion condemnation process.
So with that, good luck. Like I said, lots of TxDOT projects are happening in Fort Bend County. We’ve got our eyes on them. We’ve got lots of clients in Fort Bend County that we’re already representing.
Be careful! I’ve seen some other landowners, near our clients, who have fallen into some pitfalls because they didn’t have the information they needed to make the best decisions.
From time to time, we will link add links to some of the TxDOT projects to the website. So check that and also the YouTube channel. Click subscribe if you’d like to get updated with new videos when we come out with them. Okay, thanks.