If development is inevitable, fight to get the most money you can. Property owners usually get relocation assistance and payment for the property itself, and you'll generally get to argue your case in a hearing. To get the most dough:
* Choose your words carefully when the government comes for a visit, often unannounced. "Whatever you say can be misconstrued," says Alan Ackerman, of Ackerman & Ackerman in Troy, Mich.
* Have an experienced appraiser value your business. Recent sale prices of other properties may not reflect what yours is worth.
* Avoid property tax reassessments. Now is not the time to reduce the appraised value of your property.
* Maintain your property, rather than letting it deteriorate. In these cases, appearances really do matter.