This Article first appeared in Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation, February 22, 2008.
Initial Proceedings The Oklahoma Legislature has enacted public policy guidelines that must be followed by any "person, acquiring agency or other entity acquiring real property for any public project or program." The condemning authority must first make a resolution declaring that the acquisition of the property is necessary for a public use or public purpose. However, taking the property does not have to be absolutely necessary, it only must be reasonably necessary to accomplish the stated public purpose or use. The resolution also creates a rebuttable presumption of public purpose, which shifts the burden of proof in a condemnation proceeding to the landowner to show an absence of public purpose. The policy then requires that the condemning agency to fairly evaluate the value of the property (which typically requires an appraisal). However, a condemnor’s failure to obtain an appraisal or allow the landowner to consult the appraiser will not create any “rights or liabilities” that affect the validity of a property acquired through condemnation proceedings.
Article authored by McAfee & Taft attorney: Jeff L. Todd.
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