Alaska Eminent Domain Laws

Alaska eminent domain laws can be found in Article 4, Chapter 55 of Alaska Code of Civil Procedure.  Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 09.55.240, the right of eminent domain may be exercised for the following public uses:
1) all public uses authorized by the government of the United States;
2) public buildings and grounds for the use of the state and all other public uses authorized by the legislature of the state;
3) public buildings and grounds for the use of an organized or unorganized borough, city, town, village, school district, or other municipal division, whether incorporated or unincorporated; canals, aqueducts, flumes, ditches, or pipes conducting water, heat, or gas for the use of the inhabitants of an organized or unorganized borough, city, town, or other municipal division, whether incorporated or unincorporated; raising the banks of streams, removing obstructions from them, and widening, deepening, or straightening their channels; and roads, streets, and alleys, and all other public uses for the benefit of an organized or unorganized borough, city, town, or other municipal division whether incorporated or unincorporated, or its inhabitants, which may be authorized by the legislature;
4) wharves, docks, piers, chutes, booms, ferries, bridges of all kinds, private roads, plant and turnpike roads, railroads, canals, ditches, flumes, aqueducts, and pipes for public transportation, supplying mines and farming neighborhoods with water, and draining and reclaiming land, and for floating logs and lumber on streams not navigable, and sites for reservoirs necessary for collecting and storing water;
5) roads, tunnels, ditches, flumes, pipes, and dumping places for working mines; also outlets, natural or otherwise, for the flow, deposit, or conduct of tailings or refuse matter from mines; also an occupancy in common by the owners or possessors of different mines of any place for the flow, deposit, or conduct of tailings or refuse matter from their several mines, and sites for reservoirs necessary for collecting and storing water;
6) private roads leading from highways to residences, mines, or farms;
7) telephone lines;
8) fiber-optic lines;
9) telegraph lines;
10) sewerage of an organized or unorganized borough, city, town, village, or other municipal division, whether incorporated or unincorporated, or a subdivision of it, or of a settlement consisting of not less than 10 families, or of public buildings belonging to the state or to a college or university;
11) tramway lines;
12) electric power lines;
13) for the location of pipelines for gathering, transmitting, transporting, storing, or delivering natural or artificial gas or oil or any liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons, including, but not limited to, pumping stations, terminals, storage tanks, or reservoirs, and related installations.

The power of eminent domain may not be exercised to acquire private property from a private person for the purpose of transferring title to the property to another private person for economic development purposes[i].   Likewise, the power of eminent domain may not be exercised for the purpose of developing a recreational facility or project if the property to be acquired includes an individual landowner’s personal residence or recreational structure or that portion of an individual’s property attached to and within 250 linear feet of an individual landowner’s personal residence or recreational structure unless the landowner consents either before or after a condemnation proceeding has been filed[ii].

Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 09.55.270, before acquiring the property, it shall appear that
1) the use to which it is to be applied is authorized by law;
2) the taking is necessary to the use;
3) if already appropriated to a public use, the public use to which it is to be applied is a more necessary public use.

Eminent domain proceedings may be commenced in the superior court[iii]. The court has power
1) to regulate and determine the place and manner of making the connections and crossings or of enjoying the common uses, and of the occupying of canyons, passes, and defiles for railroad purposes, as permitted and regulated by law;
2) to limit the amount of property sought to be condemned if, in its opinion, the quantity sought to be condemned is not necessary[iv].

If the court determines that the property is to be taken for a public use and if all parties to the action do not object, the court shall appoint a master to determine the amount to be paid by the plaintiffs to each owner or other person interested in the property as compensation and damages by reason of the appropriation of the property.  If all parties to the action object to the appointment of a master, the court shall proceed with a jury trial unless the jury is waived by all parties to the action[v].

Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 09.55.320, an interested party may appeal the master’s award of damages and valuation of the property, in which case there shall be a trial by jury on the question of the amount of damages and the value of the property, unless the jury is waived by the consent of all parties to the appeal.

Pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 09.55.330, the right to compensation and damages accrues at the date of issuance of the summons and its actual value at that date is the measure of compensation of the property to be actually taken, and the basis of damages to property not actually taken but injuriously affected in the cases where the damages are allowed.  If an order is made letting the plaintiff into possession, the compensation and damages awarded shall draw lawful interest from the date of the order.

The plaintiff shall, within 30 days after final judgment, pay the sum of money assessed[vi].  When payments have been, the court shall make a final order of condemnation, which shall describe the property condemned and the purposes of the condemnation[vii]. The state or municipality in the exercise of eminent domain shall file a declaration of taking with the complaint or at any time after the filing of the complaint, but before judgment[viii].

Upon the filing of the declaration of taking and the deposit with the court of the amount of the estimated compensation stated in the declaration, title to the estate as specified in the declaration vests in the plaintiff, and that property is condemned and taken for the use of the plaintiff, and the right to just compensation for it vests in the persons entitled to it[ix].  The court may, upon motion, fix the time during which and the terms upon which the parties in possession are required to surrender possession to the petitioner. However, the right of entry may not be granted to the plaintiff until after the running of the time for the defendant to file an objection to the declaration of taking or until after the hearing on any objection to the declaration of taking if the objection is made within the time allowed by law[x].

[i] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.240.

[ii]  Id.

[iii] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.290.

[iv] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.300.

[v]  Id.

[vi] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.350.

[vii] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.370.

[viii] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.420.

[ix] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.440.

[x] Alaska Stat. § 09.55.450.


Inside Alaska Eminent Domain Laws