By: J. Eric Rochford, Indianapolis Eminent Domain Attorney
The City of Indianapolis’ most recent effort in “rapid transit” is the IndyGo Red Line. Phase 1 of this project is estimated to cost $96 million. It will travel from College Avenue in Broad Ripple, along 38 Street, down Meridian Street, through Fountain Square and ending at the University of Indianapolis. The 13.5-mile stretch of bus line will require the elimination of travel lanes, parking spots, and driveways on College Avenue, 38th Street, Meridian Street and Virginia Avenue. The project is almost certain to have a significant impact on vehicular traffic both during and after construction for those drivers who use these streets in Broad Ripple and downtown Indianapolis. However, some property owners will bear a much more significant burden.
The City of Indianapolis will be taking land from dozens of different property owners. The use of the power of eminent domain has already been approved by the Board of the Director of the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation. The City will likely begin condemning property beginning very soon and doing so over the next several months. The City of Indianapolis will be taking parking spots, access points, driveways and signage as part of the Red Line project.
Some of these property owners affected are voicing concerns about the impacts that the IndyGo Redline Rapid Transit project may cause to their properties and local businesses. This type of project involves takings that, although relatively “small” in terms of size, can have severe impacts on remaining property values or businesses. Sometimes the impacts can be detrimental enough to result in local businesses eventually closing their doors – either because they can’t survive the construction period, or the taking renders the location no longer viable for its existing commercial use due to the alterations required by the City’s taking.
Even if you believe that the IndyGo Red Line project is good for the City of Indianapolis, when your property is affected by the project, you need to seriously evaluate how the taking may impact your remaining property value and/or business long term. Property owners should not be required to bear a disproportionate burden for projects that benefit the City as a whole. Representatives of the City and its buying agents will rely heavily on certain arguments, such as “support the City” or “don’t drive up the costs of the project,” in an attempt to convince property owners that obtaining just compensation is something detrimental to the City or taxpayers. A property owner affected by eminent domain is entitled to just compensation and shouldn’t be coerced into accepting something less. If you are a property owner being impacted by this project and have questions about your legal rights to just compensation, contact me for a free consultation.