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Yes, the government could really take your home

Residents of Pennsylvania may have heard the story of the artist in Philadelphia who fought the city to keep his home and won. The city allegedly used eminent domain to attempt to evict the world-renowned artist so they could build a supermarket. It then offered just $600,000 for the studio, which was once appraised for $2 million. At another point, they offered an additional $40,000 and then a land swap.

The artist raised awareness of his plight, built a team of supporters and professionals, took on the city and beat its claim to eminent domain. How often is this the result for residents who many not own fancy studios or have resources worldwide to pull from? Not often enough.

This was not the last time that Pennsylvania residents squared off against companies or government agencies to keep their home either. In 2018, local newspaper York Dispatch, reported on public hearings for York County landowners regarding a planned $336.17 million power line project. The company sought easements on 133 properties. At the hearings, residents testified against the energy company responsible in defense of their property rights.

The truth is that for commerce and infrastructure to benefit any community, builders need easements. However, it is the way government agencies and companies go about getting them that often presents a problem. Too often, landowners do not receive fair compensation for either the loss of their property, destruction of their dream homes or disturbing the lawn that took three summers to bring to perfection. Agents often do not think of property rights from the landowners' perspectives. Because of this, sometimes the only course of action available to owners is to take the fight into a courtroom.

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