WHEN A GOVERNMENT PROJECT FORCES YOUR BUSINESS TO MOVE
At times, government projects can have the unfortunate result of forcing businesses to relocate. Fortunately, state or federal assistance is often made available to help defray moving and related expenses. This is called relocation assistance. However, as is often the case in the law, the good news comes wrapped in regulations and limitations that can be confusing to navigate. This comment discusses the basics of business relocation assistance in South Carolina.
“Location, Location, Location” For businesses that depend on catching the motorist’s eye, drop-in traffic, convenience, or easy access, it’s “location, location, location.” Locating along a main artery in a busy commercial or retail district near a growing population may be the exact formula for creating a successful business. At the same time, it is also true that growth leads to traffic, traffic leads to strain on existing roadways, and strain on existing roadways leads to government projects to expand those roadways.
Where road frontage was once your greatest asset, now it could put your business at risk of having to relocate because the future roadway will be running right through your existing building or parking lot. When that happens, it is fair to ask if the government, after forcing you to move, has any responsibility to pay for that move. While it was not always the case historically, the answer today is that when a government project displaces your business, the government bears the financial responsibility to help you move—with limitations, of course.
What Assistance Is Available? South Carolina has a relocation assistance statute that adopts the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance Act for all government projects regardless of whether state or federal dollars are paying for the project. The principal source of information on relocation assistance in South Carolina is the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s publicly available Relocation Assistance Manual. There are four categories of expenses that are typically covered for business moves:
Your replacement location may be in need of repair or it may not exactly meet your business needs. When this is the case, reestablishment expenses can help cover items such as repairs or improvements to the replacement location, modifications to make the replacement location suitable for your business, or replacing worn surfaces like carper or paint. If your business decides not to relocate, or is unable to, you may be eligible for an in-lieu-of payment depending on how many other business locations you have and based on the average annual net earnings over the past two years. In-lieu-of payments are capped at $40,000.
There are many other contours of relocation assistance that are beyond the scope of this comment and that will vary based on your unique business.
The bad news is that government projects can force businesses to relocate. The good news, or slightly less bad news, is that the government typically pays for a number of these expenses.
Our firm has experience navigating the contours of relocation assistance and would be pleased to talk with you about your unique situation. Find out how Lewis Babcock L.L.P. can help.
For more frequently asked question related to condemnation see:
Non-profit organizations in the Midlands have been greatly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. While many have continued to provide services, the pandemic has negatively affected the ability to fundraise during this challenging time.
Central SC Habitat for Humanity has felt the impact after having to cancel their 2020 “More than a Home” Gala. “This event is normally our largest annual fundraiser,” said attorney David Paavola, who currently serves on the board of directors for the organization. “It has the potential to negatively affect operations for the remainder of our fiscal year.”
Even during a pandemic, Central SC Habitat has been able to:
Lewis Babcock is supporting the fundraiser with a matching donation up to $2,000. Friends of the firm are encouraged to consider making a donation and to include the firm name “Lewis Babcock” in the comment section so it will be marked for a matching contribution.
To contribute to the fundraiser, go to their GoFundMe page.
Lewis Babcock L.L.P. is pleased to announce their support of Pawmetto Lifeline’s 14th Annual Fur Ball. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 17th at the Columbia Convention Center.
Pawmetto Lifeline, formerly Project Pet, was founded in 1999 with the mission of creating a No-Kill community in the Midlands of South Carolina.
“I’m very proud of the work being done by Pawmetto LifeLine,” said attorney Joseph Berry who serves as a board member for the organization.
The Fur Ball, now in its 14th year is a black-tie gala and one of the largest in the Midlands of its kind. The event features live music, silent & live auction, food & drinks, and much more!
Funds raised from the event are used to further Pawmetto’s goal of solving companion pet homelessness and making the Midlands a No-Kill community through adoption, pet retention, rescue partnerships, and medical services.
If you are interested in being a sponsor? Contact Jack Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 465-9191.
Columbia’s Malfunction Junction is getting a much-needed face lift. The Carolina Crossroads project is one of the most significant road improvement projects ever undertaken in South Carolina. Anyone who has driven through the I-20/26/126 corridor in Columbia, otherwise known as “malfunction junction,” during peak morning or evening commute times, or increasingly at any time, can attest to the urgent need for greater capacity and easier transitions between interstates.
The project will add lanes and rework the interchanges on I-126 between Colonial Life Boulevard and I-26 at Broad River Road. The project will also specifically address the I-20/26 connection. In the long run, such improvements will be welcomed by commuters and travelers alike, but in the near term, hundreds of businesses and property owners will be required to shoulder the burden of public progress by having their land taken by the government to make these improvements a reality.
How does this project impact businesses? If your business or property is situated along the frontage roads of the I-26/126 corridor between Colonial Life Boulevard and Harbison Boulevard you should expect a major impact. The Carolina Crossroads project is adding lanes in each direction to this stretch of I-26/I-126. Interstate lane expansion will push the frontage roads out wider than their current location and will require the South Carolina Department of Transportation to take frontage property from landowners.
Sign up now for this live FREE webinar that will cover the Carolina Crossroads (Malfunction Junction) project currently underway, as well as the eminent domain process, and the impact that eminent domain can have for you and/or your business.
The webinar will be held on September 9th at 3:30. To sign up go to www.lewisbabcock.com/register
Lewis Babcock, L.L.P. is pleased to announce that founding partner, Keith Babcock, has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2021.
Babcock was recognized in two areas:
Babcock has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® publication for 15 years. Best Lawyers is one of the oldest peer-review publications in the legal profession and is regarded by many as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Rankings are based on an exhaustive peer-review process in which attorneys from across the country provide feedback on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their respective practice areas.
Lewis Babcock, a litigation law firm located in Columbia, South Carolina has hired Sylvia Douglas to serve as the firm’s office manager. Douglas will oversee the day-to-day operations of the firm including human resources, facilities management, vendor relations, and finances.
“We are so pleased to have Sylvia as part of our team,” said founding partner Keith Babcock.
“She brings years of experience in various leadership roles and we are confident that she will be a great asset to the firm.”
Douglas has extensive experience working in executive management positions in the corporate, medical and legal areas. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Political Science from Presbyterian College and a paralegal studies certificate from Professional Center for Paralegal Studies (Columbia Junior College).
The law firm of Lewis Babcock L.L.P. is pleased to announce that David Paavola has received the AV Preeminent rating from the Martindale-Hubbell legal rating service.
The Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® rating is the highest possible rating for an attorney for both ethical standards and legal ability. This rating represents the pinnacle of professional excellence. It is achieved only after an attorney has been reviewed and recommended by their peers and fellow members of the bar.
“We are extremely pleased that David has been recognized by fellow attorneys for his legal talent and experience,” said founding partner, Keith Babcock. “As an AV rated firm, we pride ourselves on bringing the highest level of legal acumen and client service to each matter.”
Paavola is a litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses in eminent domain and condemnation, complex business disputes, professional misconduct, legal malpractice, and contract disputes. Prior to law school David worked in the financial services industry as a commercial and agricultural loan credit analyst. After law school and before joining Lewis Babcock, Paavola worked for an Am Law 100 law firm and then served as an Assistant Attorney General in Consumer Protection & Antitrust Section in the Office of the South Carolina Attorney General.
Lewis Babcock L.L.P. is pleased to announce that two attorneys in the firm have been selected to the 2020 South Carolina Super Lawyers List as top attorneys. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.
Lewis Babcock attorneys included in South Carolina Super Lawyers in 2020 are:
Keith Babcock – Business Litigation (2008-2020)
David Paavola - Eminent Domain (Rising Star) (2019-2020)
Babcock has been listed in Super Lawyers since its inception in 2008 making this his 13th consecutive year being listed in the publication.
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.
Lewis Babcock, L.L.P., a Columbia-based law firm, is thrilled to announce the launch of its completely redesigned law firm website, www.lewisbabcock.com. The fresh and innovative design includes easy navigation for a user-friendly experience.
The new website features extensive bios of the attorneys and information regarding the firm’s core areas of practice which include business disputes, eminent domain, professional negligence and appellate practice.
“Our firm has statewide practice and a national reputation for the work we do,” said founding partner Keith Babcock. “The website reflects who we are and how we help our clients.”
Because of the firm’s extensive work in the area of eminent domain, the website also features a section devoted to the Carolina Crossroads project. The reworking of the I-20/26/126 corridor is said to be the number one interstate priority according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation. Construction for Carolina Crossroads is expected to take place over five phases between 2021 and 2029. More information about this project and the potential impacts to business owners and landowner can be found here.
An Overview of Eminent Domain
"The paramount importance of private property is so fundamental in this country that its protection is expressly guaranteed in the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution. “
Download this article on eminent domain to learn more from Keith Babcock, one of South Carolina’s most recognized eminent domain lawyers.