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Imminent domain is the power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property. This doctrine has no application to the circumstances you describe.
I believe you are referring to the legal doctrine of adverse possession. Adverse possession (under IL law) is when an individual publicly moves into an otherwise neglected property, improves this property, and is therefore granted title to it after a period of time.
The statute is found at §5/13-101.
Adverse possession, under Illinois law, is the “open and hostile possession of land under claim of title to the exclusion of the true owner, which, if continued for the period prescribed by statute, ripens into an actual title.”
To establish title under the adverse possession doctrine in Illinois, a person must establish that his or her possession of land was:
(4) open, notorious and exclusive, and
(5) under claim of title inconsistent with that of the true owner for a period of 20 years.
All five of these elements must have existed concurrently for the full 20 - year period before the doctrine will apply.
What you are describing, if you can prove the fence was in place for the last 20 years? Then you can claim title to that land. But you have to prove 20 years...anything less will not meet the requirements of the statute.
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