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Stephon B. Bagne

Member, Clark Hill PLC

Phone: (313) 965-8897

Fax: (313) 309-6897

Email: sbagne@clarkhill.com

Website: Clark Hill Property Owner Condemnation Services

 

Stephon B. Bagne’s expertise in representing property owners in condemnation cases is widely recognized. Stephon has represented all types of property owners in a variety of situations including vacant and improved property, partial and total takings, easement and fee acquisitions, involving commercial and residential properties. He has won jury trials in courts throughout the State of Michigan and successfully defended those verdicts before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Stephon has prevailed in challenges of the necessity of takings and negotiated less onerous acquisitions in partial taking matters. He regularly speaks and writes about eminent domain and other real estate law issues for a variety of professional organizations. For a more complete bio, please click here.

 

 

 

 

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Monday
Nov092015

Lenawee County Buying Three More Houses Adjacent to Airport

Lenawee County is purchasing three more houses, consistent with rulings that I obtained for their neighbors following a new lawsuit that I filed on behalf of those owners.

Lenawee County began the process of planning for an expansion of their airport in 1994.  The County eventually initiated the first phase of acquisitions for properties on one end of the runway in 2005.  The County offered only a payment for an easement while essentially asserting that it was only acquiring “air rights.” The County’s approach ignored the legal requirement that just compensation be evaluated based upon the assumption that the rights acquired will be used “to the fullest extent allowed by law.” This article, published in the International Right of Way Association’s magazine, describes this legal requirement and references the Lenawee County airport project.  

Two of the cases were tried, with juries requiring the County to buy the homes.  This article, originally published on the front page of Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly, describes how the first trial proceeded. 

When the first phase of cases were concluded, I represented neighboring owners who had been targeted for acquisition and demanded that the County take them out of limbo by initiating an acquisition.  The County refused.  Therefore, we filed a lawsuit seeking to close the airport until such time as the County acquired rights and paid just compensation to those neighbors.  The County eventually agreed to initiate condemnation to resolve that case.

The County issued good faith offers to four owners that I represent. We recently settled three of those cases with the County acquiring those homes.  This means that nine houses in the general area have been purchased by the County, leaving a smattering more that will go into eminent domain. 

Airport takings are not merely acquisitions of “air rights.”  Avigation easements place significant limitations on the use of the underlying land, particularly if a Runway Protection Zone is involved as this article details. 

In addition, as this article describes, low overhead flights are compensable. 

If you have been confronted by issues involving use of airports or a request to convey an avigation easement, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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