Georgia Code Title 22. Eminent Domain § 22-1-1

As used in this title, the term:

(1) “Blighted property,” “blighted,” or “blight” means any urbanized or developed property which:

(A) Presents two or more of the following conditions:

(i) Uninhabitable, unsafe, or abandoned structures;

(ii) Inadequate provisions for ventilation, light, air, or sanitation;

(iii) An imminent harm to life or other property caused by fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, storm, or other natural catastrophe respecting which the Governor has declared a state of emergency under state law or has certified the need for disaster assistance under federal law;  provided, however, that this division shall not apply to property unless the relevant public agency has given notice in writing to the property owner regarding specific harm caused by the property and the owner has failed to take reasonable measures to remedy the harm;

(iv) A site identified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 9601, et seq., or environmental contamination to an extent that requires remedial investigation or a feasability study;

(v) Repeated illegal activity on the individual property of which the property owner knew or should have known;  or

(vi) The maintenance of the property is below state, county, or municipal codes for at least one year after notice of the code violation;  and

(B) Is conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, or crime in the immediate proximity of the property.

Property shall not be deemed blighted because of esthetic conditions.

(2) “Common carrier” means any carrier required by law to convey passengers or freight without refusal if the approved fare or charge is paid.

(3) “Condemnor” or “condemning authority” means:

(A) The State of Georgia or any branch or any department, board, commission, agency, or authority of the executive branch of the government of the State of Georgia;

(B) Any county or municipality of the State of Georgia;

(C) Any housing authority with approval of the governing authority of the city or county as provided in Code Section 8-3-31.1 ;

(D) Any other political subdivision of the State of Georgia which possesses the power of eminent domain;  and

(E) All public utilities that possess the right or power of eminent domain.

(4) “Economic development” means any economic activity to increase tax revenue, tax base, or employment or improve general economic health, when the activity does not result in:

(A) Transfer of land to public ownership;

(B) Transfer of property to a private entity that is a public utility;

(C) Lease of property to private entities that occupy an incidental area within a public project;  or

(D) The remedy of blight.

(5) “Each person with a legal claim” means the owner of the property or of any remainder, reversion, mortgage, lease, security deed, or other claim in the property.

(6) “Interest” means any title or nontitle interest other than fee simple title.

(7) “Persons” means individuals, partnerships, associations, and corporations, domestic or foreign.

(8) “Property” means fee simple title.

(9)(A) “Public use” means:

(i) The possession, occupation, or use of the land by the general public or by state or local governmental entities;

(ii) The use of land for the creation or functioning of public utilities;

(iii) The opening of roads, the construction of defenses, or the providing of channels of trade or travel;

(iv) The acquisition of property where title is clouded due to the inability to identify or locate all owners of the property;

(v) The acquisition of property where unanimous consent is received from each person with a legal claim that has been identified and found;  or

(vi) The remedy of blight.

(B) The public benefit of economic development shall not constitute a public use.

(10) “Public utility” means any publicly, privately, or cooperatively owned line, facility, or system for producing, transmitting, or distributing communications, power, electricity, light, heat, gas, oil products, water, steam, clay, waste, storm water not connected with highway drainage, and other similar services and commodities, including publicly owned fire and police and traffic signals and street lighting systems, which directly or indirectly serve the public.  This term also means a person, municipal corporation, county, state agency, or public authority which owns or manages a utility as defined in this paragraph.  This term shall also include common carriers and railroads.


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