Pipeline construction

Eminent Domain Overview

Eminent domain is the condemnation of private property for public uses or purposes. It does not include the donation of property or the voluntary negotiation and purchase of property by an acquiring agency. Common public projects involving eminent domain include airports, railways, roads, pipelines, electric transmission lines and city sewer system improvements. Individuals whose property may be subject to government acquisition, through eminent domain or purchase, are advised to retain legal counsel. The government can seek to acquire the property through condemnation or by condemning an easement on part or all of the property.

The legislature has granted state agencies, cities, counties, the federal government, cemetery associations, railways, owners of land without access to the land, and owners of mineral lands eminent domain powers. States, cities, and counties most commonly exercise it. Utilities can acquire easements or other property interests by eminent domain after an approval process with the Iowa Utilities Board.

Terms for Reference

“Acquiring Agency” or “Agency” = the state of Iowa or any entity conferred the right by statute to condemn private property or exercise eminent domain. 

Basic Procedure

Approval of Public Project

Before an agency can vote to approve or deny a public improvement project or the alteration of an existing project, the agency must make a good faith effort to give notice of the public hearing to the affected property owners. The agency must mail a notice to the property owners at least...