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Arizona Eminent Domain Laws

Arizona eminent domain laws can be found in Article 2, Chapter 8, Title 12  of Arizona statutes.  Pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1111, the right of eminent domain may be exercised by the state, a county, city, town, village, or political subdivision, or by a person, for the following uses:
1. All public uses authorized by the government of the United States.
2. Buildings and grounds for any public use of the state and all other public uses authorized by the legislature.
3. Buildings and grounds for the use of a county, city, town or school district.
4. Canals, aqueducts, flumes, ditches or pipes, for conducting water for the use of the inhabitants or for drainage of a county, city, town or village.
5. Raising the banks of streams, removing obstructions therefrom, or widening, deepening or straightening their channels.
6. Roads, streets and alleys, and all other public uses for the benefit of a county, city, town or village, or the inhabitants thereof, which is authorized by the legislature.
7. Wharves, docks, piers, chutes, booms, ferries, bridges, toll roads, byroads, plank and turnpike roads and highways.
8. Steam, horse, mule, electric and cable railroads or railways.
9. Telegraph and telephone lines and conduits for public communication.
10. Electric light and power transmission lines, pipe lines used for supplying gas, and all transportation, transmission and intercommunication facilities of public service agencies.
11. Aviation fields.
12. Reservoirs, canals, ditches, flumes, aqueducts and pipes, for the use of a county, city, town or village, or its inhabitants, or for public transportation for supplying mines and other industrial enterprises, farms and farm neighborhoods with water for irrigation, domestic and other needful purposes, and for generating electricity.
13. Draining and reclaiming lands, and for floating logs and lumber on nonnavigable streams.
14. Roads, tunnels, ditches, flumes, pipes and dumping places for working mines, and outlets, natural or otherwise, for the flow, deposit or conduct of tailings or refuse matter from mines, and an occupancy in common by the owners or possessors of different mines, or any place for the flow, deposit or conduct of tailings or refuse matter from their several mines.
15. Byroads leading from highways to residences and farms.
16. Private canals, ditches, flumes, aqueducts and pipes for conducting water from natural water courses or bodies or from public sources where the lands to be irrigated are not directly reached by such natural water course or public sources.
17. Pipe lines to carry petroleum, petroleum products or any other liquid.
18. Rights of way, station grounds, pits, yards, sidetracks and other necessary facilities for railways.

Before acquisition of the property, it shall appear that:
1. The use to which the property is to be applied is a use authorized by law.
2. The taking is necessary to such use.
3. If the property is already appropriated to some public use, the public use to which it is to be applied is a more necessary public use[i].

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1116, an action for condemnation shall be brought as other civil actions in the superior court in the county in which the property is located except that, at least twenty days before filing an action for condemnation of property or any interest in property, the plaintiff shall deliver to the property owner of record and as a courtesy to the sole lessee of record, if applicable, according to the records of the county recorder in the county in which the property is located:

1. A written offer to purchase the property or interest in the property and to pay just compensation for the property or interest in the property and for any compensable damages to any remaining property.
2. One or more appraisals that support the amount of the proposed compensation.

At the time of the filing of complaint or at any time after filing the complaint, the plaintiff may apply to the court for an order permitting the plaintiff to take possession of and use the property sought to be condemned for the purpose prayed for.  On filing the application, the court shall set a time for a hearing.  On the day of the hearing, the court shall receive evidence as to the probable damages to each owner and may direct that on a deposit of money, on direct payment to each owner, or if the condemnor is the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision, on posting a bond in a form to be approved by the court, the plaintiff shall be let into the possession of the property[ii].

The plaintiff may deposit the money or bond with the clerk of the court or the state treasurer.  The money or bond may be held for the use and benefit of each person having an interest in each parcel of land sought to be condemned, subject to final judgment after trial of the action and may be held also as a fund to pay any further damages and costs[iii].

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1127, after judgment is entered or pending an appeal from the judgment to the supreme court, when plaintiff has paid into court the full amount of the judgment, the superior court in which the action was tried may, upon notice of not less than ten days, authorize plaintiff if already in possession to continue therein or if not, then to take possession of and use the property until final conclusion of the litigation and may if necessary stay all actions and proceedings against plaintiff on account thereof.

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1129, if a plaintiff causes a condemnation action to be dismissed without prejudice before payment of the compensation and damages awarded the defendant by the court or jury, the plaintiff shall not initiate any eminent domain proceeding with respect to the same property for the same or a related project for at least two years after the date of the verdict or judgment.  The court shall award the owner of the property an amount that will reimburse the owner for the owner’s reasonable costs, disbursements and expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraisal and engineering fees, actually incurred because of the condemnation proceeding if either of the following occurs:

  • The final judgment is that the plaintiff cannot acquire the real property by condemnation.
  • The proceeding is abandoned on a motion by the plaintiff.

If the proceeding is dismissed on a motion by the plaintiff because the parties have agreed to settle the matter out of court, both parties shall pay their own costs, disbursements and expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraisal and engineering fees unless otherwise specified by the parties in the settlement agreement[iv].

[i] A.R.S. § 12-1112.

[ii] A.R.S. § 12-1116.

[iii] Id.

[iv] A.R.S. § 12-1129.

Inside Arizona Eminent Domain Laws