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Eminent Domain Valuation in a Falling Market Poses Questions for Condemning Authorities

In 2006, a condemning authority notifies the public that it intends on widening Congestion Drive, and that it will need to acquire 10 feet of right of way on the North side of the road.  The project does not go forward until 2009, in the meantime those property owners on the North side of Congestion have had a cloud placed over there property for 3 years. 

Who is going to want to improve a property, or potentially buy a property knowing that part of it is going to be taken?  Additionally, we all know what happened to property values between 2006 and 2009.  They certainly weren’t trending up.  Is it fair for a condemning authority to use sales that are in some cases much lower then when it first announced its intention to widen a certain road?  Should sales data not be allowed after the time that the project was announced and the cloud of the project was placed over property needed for the project? 

The answer may lie in the “scope of the project” rule, which is well settled in this state.  The rule requires that compensation due under Article X, Section 6, Fla. Const. must be determined without regard to the depreciating effects, if any, of the public’s awareness of plan for future public improvements. State Road Dept. v. Chicone, 158 So.2d 753 (Fla. 1963).  Although, not directly on point with whether falling sales should be allowed after there is notice of the project the “scope of the project” rule is a basis for arguing that such sales should not be considered.

This scenario is playing out all over this state, and the battle lines have been drawn.   

Categories: Eminent Domain
Tags: Mitchell J. BurnsteinPeter D. WaldmanDamagesSouth Florida Public Transactions LawFort Lauderdale Public Transactions LawMiami Public Transactions Law Fort Lauderdale Eminent Domain AttorneysMiami Eminent Domain AttorneysSourth Florida Eminent Domain AttorneysScope of the Project Rule
Author(s): Peter D. Waldman