The attorneys at Szaferman Lakind are actively involved in land use matters including developer representation before planning and zoning boards, governing bodies and other local, regional and State agencies. We draft zoning ordinance and master plan amendments and participate as counsel to redevelopers in redevelopment projects. They are well versed in land use litigation, zoning challenges, tax appeals, eminent domain matters and property rights claims. In particular fields, such as solar and outdoor advertising law, the attorneys regularly appear before regulatory bodies on behalf of their clients.
The firm’s attorneys are experienced in the field of condemnation law and focus on representation of individuals and businesses who are threatened with their property being forcibly taken by the Federal or State government, other governmental agencies or private entities. Our goal is to either fight the threat of condemnation or seek maximum compensation for the land taken and the negative impacts (called severance damages) to the property that remains or, in the case of the entire property being taken, maximum value for the forced acquisition of the owner’s parcel. In those cases where the government should have taken property interests and paid just compensation but did not, our attorneys will file and litigate an “inverse condemnation” case to force a taking of property by the government and compel an award compensating the owner for the property’s lost value.
We assist property owners from the very beginning when the government’s agents first make contact with an owner. In some cases, the first step is an attempt to whittle away access rights in a proceeding where the uninformed property owner can lose valuable compensation rights. But our attorneys also assist when the condemnor’s first notification letter is received by developing a plan and shaping a response to the condemnor’s pre-condemnation lawsuit activities, including effective negotiation strategies to seek fair compensation. If, however, agreement over just compensation is not reached, we will take the issue of fair value to a hearing or trial. Our goal is to assist our clients attain just compensation for the property forcibly taken from them.
Drawing on other disciplines, we employ a team approach to guide clients in the redevelopment process. Whether resisting an area in need of designation or local redevelopment initiatives with condemnation powers, or proposing a parcel or parcels of land for redevelopment designation. We strive to bring a team approach to propose solutions that meet our clients’ needs. Our services include drafting ordinances, negotiating redevelopment agreements and PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) and other financial agreements, shaping redevelopment plans and litigating, when circumstances warrant, such as an unwanted proposed area in need designation.