To make improvement projects more economical and equitable to the property owners adjoining the improvement, the City has incorporated a policy to acquire all right-of-way, drainage and temporary construction easements through the Eminent Domain Procedure Act.
The process begins by establishing a resolution to commence the acquisition procedures. This resolution and the proposed improvements will be discussed at a regularly scheduled City Council meeting. You will be notified of this meeting by mail and you are welcome to attend to express any concerns or questions.
Following the passage of the resolution by City Council, a petition is filed by the City with the District Court. The Petition includes the purpose for the taking, a description of each lot, parcel or tract of land and the reason for the taking, and the names of any owner and lien holders of record (mortgages, etc.).
Notice of the eminent domain procedures will be published "once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the lands are situated" by the City of Shawnee, 9 days before the hearing date set by the Court to consider the petition and appointment of appraisers. The City shall also notify by mail all interested parties named in the petition within 7 days of the hearing date.
If the Judge agrees with the petition filed by the City and finds that the taking is necessary to the purposes of the project, then the Judge shall appoint 3 "disinterested residents of the county in which the petition is filed, at least two of the three shall have experience in the valuation of real estate, to view and appraise the value of the lots and parcels of land found to be necessary, and to determine the damages to the interested parties resulting from the taking."
Appraisers are sworn by oath to serve as officers of the court. They do not represent either the City of Shawnee or any other party. The Judge issues written instructions for the appraisers to follow.
The court appointed appraisers hold a public hearing. You will receive notification 10 days prior to the hearing. At that time, the appraisers will hear any questions or concerns from both the property owner and the City. This is also the time to schedule on-site meetings with the appraisers. If you cannot attend the public hearing, you may reach the appraisers by telephone to schedule a meeting. On-site meetings are available, but not required.
Prior to your meeting, surveyors will stake the portion of the property that is being affected by the right-of-way and easement acquisition. This is helpful in determining what trees, bushes and other improvements will be affected. A representative of the City will be on hand to answer technical questions related to the project.
On occasion, a request for additional information is made. Any information that is provided to the appraisers must be provided to the City and the property owner as well.
Once the appraisers complete their duties, they file a report with the Court. The City is then notified of the filing. The City of Shawnee has 3 days from the date they receive the report in which to mail a written notice of the filing to every person who has an interest in the property being taken.
After review of the report, the City of Shawnee has 30 days in which to pay the Clerk of the District Court the amount of the award. Upon payment to the Court, immediate possession is granted to the City of Shawnee. If the City does not make payment (within the 30-day period), the acquisition of those tracts is abandoned.
If either party (City or Property Owner) is dissatisfied with the award of the appraisers, either party may, within 30 days, appeal the award by filing a written notice of appeal with the Clerk of the District Court. Please refer to K.S.A. 26-508 to K.S.A. 26-511 for additional information.
Factors to be Considered
The following is a partial list of factors that are considered by the appraisers when viewing your property:
Appraisers also use comparable sales in the County to determine the basis for their awards.
- Use of property
- Current zoning of property
- Access to property after the taking
- Appearance of the property remaining
- Loss of trees and shrubbery
- Cost of new fences or loss of fences
- Damage to property abutting right-of-way due to change in grade
- Proximity of new improvements
- Loss or damage to growing crops
The City will make payment to the District Court and the Court will make payment to the property owners for the right-of-way and easements. The Clerk of the District Court shall notify the property owners within 15 days that the City of Shawnee has paid the amount of the appraisers award. A check will be issued by the Court.
If there is a dispute among the parties as to the division of the award or the amount of judgment, the Court will determine the final distribution of the amount of the appraisers award.
It shall be the policy of the City to deal equitably and fairly with property owners affected by all city projects.
On Capital Improvement and City initiated assessment district projects, the City shall proceed to exercise the power of eminent domain and acquire the necessary right-of-way and easements through condemnation with the District Court. The procedure, from start to finish, takes approximately 60 days to complete.
Acquisition: The process of acquiring real property (real estate) or some interest therein at its fair market value.
Appraisal: The act or process of estimating the monetary value of an interest in property. The appraisal is to be independent, impartial, and prepared by a qualified appraiser. It will set forth an opinion of defined value for an adequately described property on a specific date.
Condemnation: The legal process of acquiring private property for public use or purpose through the City’s power of eminent domain.
Easement: In general, the right of one person to use all or part of the property of another person for some specific purpose. Easements can be permanent or temporary (i.e. limited to a stated period of time).
Eminent Domain: The right of a government to acquire private property for public use. In the United States, just compensation shall be paid for private property acquired.
Interest: A right, title or legal share in something. People who share in the ownership of real property have an interest in the property.
Just Compensation: The price the City of Shawnee must pay the private owner when acquiring real property through the condemnation process.
Personal Property: In general, property that can be moved. It is not permanently attached to, or a part of, the real property. Personal property is not to be considered in the appraisal of real property.
Real Property: The interest, rights and benefits that go along with the ownership of real estate, which is the land and the permanent improvements thereon.