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It’s one thing if Uncle Sam wants to demolish your house to make way for a highway. It’s called eminent domain, and you can expect fair market value for your land and your troubles.

But it can get trickier if your property is adjacent to water. Under a legal doctrine called navigational servitude, the powers-that-be not only can show cause for demolishing your property when it gets in the way of a government-backed waterway project — but they can do so without paying you a penny. In fact, they can stick you with the bill.

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