Commitment to assisting South Carolina landowners
At Lewis Babcock LLP, we regularly help landowners receive just compensation after a government or government-authorized entity seizes their property through condemnation.
Litigation of landmark cases
Lewis Babcock LLP’s innovative approach to condemnation and land use litigation has helped place our firm at the forefront of these complex areas of law. Our lawyers successfully represented landowners before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark regulatory taking case, Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission. This case, which upheld a landowner’s right to monetary damages when he was prohibited from building residences on his beachfront property, demonstrates our efforts and desire to ensure that our clients receive compensation when a government entity’s actions reduces the value of their land.
In addition to regulatory condemnation cases, Lewis Babcock LLP also excels at traditional eminent domain and zoning cases. Lewis Babcock LLP attorney, Keith M. Babcock, is South Carolina’s sole representative on the Owner’s Counsel of America, a national consortium of eminent domain lawyers representing landowners. Mr. Babcock has also been a guest lecturer before various seminars for South Carolina lawyers and national eminent domain conferences.
What is eminent domain?
- Eminent domain refers to the government’s power to appropriate private property for public use. However, the U.S. Constitution and other laws mandate that the owner of any appropriated land is entitled to reasonable compensation, usually defined as the fair market value of the property. Proceedings to take land under eminent domain are typically referred to as condemnation, or taking, proceedings and come in various degrees:
- Complete taking: All of the property at issue is appropriated.
Partial taking: If the taking is of part of a piece of property, such as the condemnation of a strip of land to expand a road, the owner should be compensated both for the value of the strip of land and for any effect the condemnation of that strip has on the value of the owner’s remaining property.
- Temporary taking: Part or all of the property is appropriated for a limited period of time. The property owner retains title and is compensated for any losses associated with the taking.
- Easements and rights of way: Sometimes an eminent domain action is used to allow a utility company to install and maintain power lines or to allow a local government to install sidewalks over private land. The property owner remains free to use the property for any purpose which does interfere with the right of way or easement.
Lewis Babcock LLP can help you obtain compensation for your appropriated property, including both the value of the property and the impact on the loss or disruption of a business operating from the condemned real estate.
Zoning and land use lawyers
Zoning laws regulate how real estate can be developed and used. Development plans must meet all zoning code requirements and be submitted for development review and approval. Zoning ordinances categorize areas as residential, commercial, agricultural or industrial and restrict the size and height of buildings as well as building location on the lot. Additionally, environmental regulations impose requirements on certain types of properties such as docks, wetlands, and shorelines.
The attorneys of Lewis Babcock LLP have years of experience dealing with zoning and land use issues. We provide practical legal advice regarding land development and zoning concerns.
Watch attorney Badge Humphries discuss Eminent Domain with NBC Channel 2.
Learn more about the Eminent Domain Procedure.
Contact our office for advice and support
Lewis Babcock LLP exists to help right the wrong when professional malpractice leaves you with losses, a business or land dispute threatens your financial interests, or the negligence or wrongdoing of a corporation, government entity or individual causes you harm. For more information about how the laws apply to your situation and to find out how the firm can help you, contact Lewis Babcock LLP online or call our offices at 803-771-8000 to arrange an appointment today.