The expanding population of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, particularly in Collin County, is putting a strain on the local highway infrastructure. To help relieve some of this strain, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has planned several expansion projects to accommodate the area’s increased traffic. One of these is a proposed expansion of US Highway 380 that runs through Collin County.
The proposed expansion encompasses 10.5 miles from US Highway 77 to just west of the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco. The proposed project would consist of an eight-lane freeway with frontage roads and TxDOT seeks to alleve congestion and improve east-west mobility, regional connectivity, and traffic operations. The US380 expansion will require additional right-of-way that could potentially displace residential and non-residential structures. Several alternative routes are being considered and routing announcements are expected in the middle of 2022.
Residential and Business Dislocations Will Be Required to Complete Construction
TxDOT is currently holding public meetings about the US 380 expansion. There are, of course, many area property owners that are concerned about how the project will affect their property. The project will require several residential and commercial displacements. TxDOT has said that it has been working to reduce the number of displacements, however, some displacements can be avoided due to development along the roadway.
Many residents have hired lawyers to represent them, including attorneys from the law firm Dawson & Sodd, PLLC. “One of the most intrusive things our government does to an innocent person is taking their land,” remarked Dawson & Sodd attorney Clint Schumacher in a recent interview with local ABC affiliate WFAA.
What Is Eminent Domain and How Does It Work in Texas?
Both the United States and Texas Constitutions give the government and their agents the authority of eminent domain to take private lands for public use, such as a highway or utility line. However, both Constitutions also state that property owners must receive fair and just compensation (the fair market value), as well as due process before their property can be taken. In addition, the state must also show that the taking is in the public interest and not purely for economic or commercial gain.
Condemnation is the name of the process the government uses to obtain private property. It begins with the condemning entity (in the case of the US 380 expansion, TxDOT) notifying a property owner that they intend to take their land. They will send a surveyor to prepare a formal legal description of the property they intend to acquire, followed by an appraiser to estimate the value of the land being taken, along with any damages to the remaining land.
Next, an offer is made based on this appraisal. The property owner can either accept this offer or seek additional compensation. If the property owner decides against accepting TxDOT’s offer, a special commissioners panel will be appointed by the court to establish the amount of compensation due to the owner.
It is important for property owners to take the necessary steps to protect their rights during the condemnation process. There are important deadlines that arise in these cases that should not be missed. An experienced Texas eminent domain attorney can ensure that the entity that wants to take your land has the authority to do so, that the taking is for public use, and that you receive the fair market value for your property, as is your Constitutional right.
Don’t Give Up Without a Fight: Dawson & Sodd is Here to Protect Your Rights
The Texas eminent domain attorneys at Dawson & Sodd have been protecting the rights of property owners for over a century. We exclusively represent property owners in matters concerning eminent domain authority, property appraisals, and other issues. We never represent the government or others looking to seize private property.
In many cases, our representation has resulted in significant settlements for our clients, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the original offer. This includes a $5.7 million net settlement (original offer: $4.1 million) for a convenience store owner in Dallas County after a TxDOT acquisition ruined his business; $5 million (original offer: $650,000) for landowners living in the location of the proposed Texas Rangers ballpark at Arlington; and $1.3 million (original offer: $846,000) for a highway taking that resulted in the demolition of a commercial building in Tarrant County.
We can’t guarantee these kinds of results in every case, but we do promise to fight to get you every dollar that you are owed for the loss of your property.
If your property is in the path of one of the proposed US 380 expansion routes, it’s important to act now to protect your rights. Contact Dawson & Sodd today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.