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Eminent Domain Information
Practicing Solely In Eminent Domain

Nor Shall Private Property Be Taken For Public Use, Without Just Compensation
- The 5th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Maywood-Mississippi River Crossing Transmission Line Project

Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI), Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission and Ameren Missouri are planning a new transmission line through a portion of Marion County. The Maywood-Mississippi River Crossing (MMRX) Project includes the construction of approximately nine miles of 345-kV transmission line from ATXI’s existing Maywood substation near Palmyra, Missouri across the Mississippi River to Illinois.

Maywood Transmission Line Map - Marion County

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What Are My Rights?

Many property owners do not realize they have a right to compensation for transmission line easements. If even a portion of their property needs to be used by Ameren, owners are entitled under the Constitution to receive just compensation.

Just compensation includes not only the value of the property lost to electric utilities, but also damage done to the remaining property. Property owners should consult an attorney before signing any documents effecting their property. Attorneys at Denlow & Henry provide an initial consultation at no charge to a property owner.

So, what happens next?

While the United States and Misouri constitutions allow for the use of eminent domain for this type of project, they also stipulate that landowners must be paid “just compensation” for their property.

The Denlow & Henry law firm has represented thousands of property owners in eminent domain cases in over 56 counties throughout Missouri for more than 35 years.

Ameren will have to apply to the Missouri Public Service Comission for project approval. That process will likely start this year and conclude next year. The Public Service Commission is a governor-appointed regulatory body that supervises public utilities such as electric and water companies.

Denlow & Henry principal Paul Henry, said the firm has seen every kind of condemnation case imaginable, from individual landowners to large corporations and properties ranging from single family residences, retail, industrial and agricultural.

What is Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI)?

ATXI is owned by the same company as Ameren of Missouri. In spite of its name, it is recognized as a Missouri public utility. It does not sell electricity to consurmers or end-use business. It is in the business of transporting large amounts of electricity on behalf of other utilties and co-ops to sell to consumers. As a public utility, it has tueh power to use eminent domain for approved projects.

What experience does Denlow & Henry have with transmission projects?

The attorneys at Denlow & Henry have represented hundreds of property owners affected by transmission projects throughout Missouri, including:

How does eminent domain work?

The legal process used to take property is called condemnation and is controlled by Missouri statutes and court rules, including:

Henry said the primary disagreement in most condemnation cases is about money, but in some cases the more important issue is to get the agency to agree to changes in the project to minimize negative impacts. In cases where a property owner must leave the property, there are relocation issues and expenses that may be reimbursable.

Landowners who receive an notice of taking or an offer from an agency should not sign anything until they have a lawyer look at the documents, because there is no way to undo the transaction after an agreement has been reached. In fact, property owners should not speak to a government representative or appraiser about their property before seeking legal advice. In condemnation, property owners receive a one-time payment for all of the impacts to a property that’s being taken or affected by a project. It is incredibly important that an attorney with years of experience, knowledge and skills be consulted because there is no second chance after the acquisition is completed.

The attorneys at Denlow & Henry will initially consult with property owners for no charge. This will often include a visit to the property to assess the situation.

What are property owners owed?

Simply stated, a property owner is entitled to “just compensation” which means the fair market value of their proeprty. However, the rules of valuation in the condemnation setting can be complicated. When a project only requires and easement or a portion of a property, there may be damages to the portion that remains. In Missouri, this is called consequential or severance damages. Depending on the circumstances, consequential damages may be significant. While the land value disagreement is fairly straight-forward consequential damages are typically more complicated and may not be as apparent to someone who does not have experience in condemnation cases.

Again, it is critically important that anyone who receives an eminent domain offer doesn’t sign anything until after consulting with a lawyer, because there’s no way for an agreement to be undone. There is just one opportunity to be compensated for a taking and property owners should take time to carefully consider what they are owed.

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