Transform 66 Wisely has learned that a VDOT Contractor, FAM Construction, has been asking for access to private property near I-66. Their claimed reason has been to “verify” utilities or drill for soil boring samples. If this happens to you, beware of any attempts to enter your private property and find an attorney experienced with Virginia eminent domain issues to know your legal rights.
Boring equipment includes large vehicles that carry deep drilling equipment. This equipment can be quite heavy and may damage your property during use or even transporting to the drill area. In addition, the drill lubricating oils used in drilling often leak and contaminate soil permanently.
As a property owner, you do NOT have to allow any company to access your property to modify it, drill on it, or provide access for any equipment without a legal order. While FAM and VDOT can secure eminent domain authority that includes a legal order, it is up to them to do this first. Do not voluntarily give them any permission until they have secured actual legal authority to enter your property.
The property owner is entitled to compensation and may secure and negotiate a (temporary) easement or a limited license for land access. This negotiation may include financial compensation, but also assurance that the land will be returned to its original condition, and clarify what responsibilities exist for spills and environmental concern. Even a spilled fuel can may be an environmental headache for a landowner long after the construction company leaves the area.
Later, if land is taken permanently, a separate eminent domain process and negotiation will take place.
Please consult an attorney for information about your rights and to receive legal advice. You can request reimbursement of legal fees as part of your compensation.
Has FAM attempted to access your property? Send us a note at https://transform66wisely.org/contact