Atlanta homeowners win $12 million in federal lawsuit over Beltline

Homeowners who had land seized for Atlanta Beltline to be repaid for property taken

Homeowners who had land seized for Atlanta Beltline to be repaid for property taken

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected. A previous version of the story incorrectly named the defendant in the lawsuit.

A federal judge recently awarded $12 million to several Atlanta landowners after the federal government took land from the owners six years ago for the Atlanta Beltline, according to the homeowners’ attorneys.

The federal government seized property from 21 landowners in 2017, according to a Lewis Rice law firm press release. The firm also said the Beltline sued the landowners in 2017 to remove various encroachments on the trail. The owners lost their state case and were prohibited from any further use of their property within the former railroad easement.

After the landowners lost in court in 2017, the Beltline went on to use the land to make room for the walking path and planned light-rail transit line, according to Lewis Rice. The land seizure occurred at homes located on Flagler Avenue in the intown Piedmont Heights neighborhood across from the Ansley Golf Club.

The landowners later filed a claim for compensation in the United States Court of Federal Claims in 2019. In February 2022, a judge ruled the property was illegally taken from residents in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

This month, the Lewis Rice law firm announced on Feb. 16 that the court ruled that $12 million in compensation from the federal government would be split among the affected landowners.

“These landowners are relieved that they have finally received just compensation for their property that was taken from them,” said attorney Meghan Largent’s statement.

On Tuesday, a Beltline spokeswoman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Beltline agency only developed the project over property that was formerly a railroad corridor. She stressed the Beltline did not develop over property outside the railroad corridor, nor did the Beltline seize any land, and it is not responsible for the $12 million payout.

“Atlanta Beltline, Inc. looks forward to continuing to work with its neighbors on the successful development of the Atlanta Beltline trail and transportation corridor,” said the Beltline spokeswoman.