A SUPERIOR COURT OF DELAWARE RULES LANDOWNERS NOT ENTITLED TO INCREASE IN VALUE OF PROPERTY TAKEN AFTER OPEN AND NOTORIOUS DESIGNATION OF THE PROBABLE AREA OF CONDEMNATION

TWENTY-THREE CASES WHICH INVOLVED CONDEMNATION OF PROPERTY FOR THE PORTION OF THE FEDERAL INTERSTATE SYSTEM IN DELAWARE WERE CONSOLIDATED FOR TRIAL. IN ACCORDANCE WITH A PRETRIAL ORDER, THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE IN AND FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY WAS REQUESTED TO ESTABLISH THE CUTOFF DATE FOR EVALUATING THE PROPERTY TAKEN. A REVIEW IS PRESENTED OF THE DATES OF NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING, ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CENTER LINE, AND THE RECOMMENDATION THAT IT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED TO CONSTRUCT A TOLL ROAD INSTEAD OF A PART OF THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY. THE SUPERIOR COURT RULED THAT JANUARY 1, 1958, HAD TO BE USED AS THE CUTOFF DATE FOR EVALUATING THE PROPERTIES INVOLVED. THE RULE IN THE CASE OF UNITED STATES V. MILLER WAS HELD TO BE CONTROLLING. IN THE MILLER CASE, THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES STATED THAT IF THE RESPONDENTS' LANDS WERE, AT THE DATE OF THE AUTHORIZING ACT, CLEARLY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE PROJECT, THE RESPONDENTS WERE ENTITLED TO NO ENHANCEMENT OF VALUE DUE TO THE FACT THAT THEIR LANDS WOULD BE TAKEN. IF THEY WERE WITHIN THE AREA WHERE THEY WERE LIKELY TO BE TAKEN FOR THE PROJECT, BUT MIGHT NOT BE, THE OWNERS WERE NOT ENTITLED, IF THEY WERE ULTIMATELY TAKEN, TO AN INCREMENT OF VALUE CALCULATED ON THE THEORY THAT IF THEY HAD NOT BEEN TAKEN THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE VALUABLE BY REASON OF THEIR PROXIMITY TO THE LAND TAKEN. THE SUPERIOR COURT IN DELAWARE HELD THAT SINCE THE OWNERS WERE NOT TO BE PAID ANY ENHANCEMENT IN VALUE OF THE PROPERTY OCCURRING AFTER JANUARY 1, 1958, THE SALES OF PROPERTY SIMILAR TO THAT TAKEN FOR THE TURNPIKE, WHICH WERE MADE SUBSEQUENT TO THAT DATE, HAD TO BE EXCLUDED SINCE SUCH SALES PRICES WERE UNDOUBTEDLY AFFECTED BY THE PENDING CONSTRUCTION OF THE TURNPIKE. THE OWNERS CONTENDED THAT THE DELAY ENCOUNTERED IN OBTAINING THE NEEDED FINANCING TO PROCEED TO CONSTRUCT AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT, SINCE THE REVENUE BONDS FOR THE TURNPIKE WERE NOT SOLD UNTIL FEBRUARY 20, 1962, WAS A REASON FOR THE COURT TO DELAY THE CUTOFF DATE WHEN THE MILLER RULE WAS TO BE APPLIED. LANDOWNERS ALSO ARGUED THAT IT WAS UNFAIR TO AWARD THEM LESS THAN THE VALUE OF THE SURROUNDING LAND. THE COURT POINTED OUT THAT IN NICHOLS LAW OF EMINENT DOMAIN, IT IS STATED THAT: WHEN HIS PROPERTY IS TAKEN IS REGARDED IN LAW FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE OWNER AND NOT OF THE CONDEMNOR. JUST COMPENSATION IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE IS WHAT THE OWNER HAS LOST AND NOT WHAT THE CONDEMNOR HAS GAINED. THE COURT STATED THAT THE VALUE TO BE RECOVERED WAS THAT WHICH THE LAND WOULD BRING IN THE MARKET PLACE UNDER ORDINARY CONDITIONS AND ABSENT ENHANCEMENT IN VALUE RESULTING FROM ANNOUNCEMENT OF, OR THE INITIATION OF THE PUBLIC PROJECT.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • No 7, 7pp
  • Publication Date: 1965-10

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  • Accession Number: 00238780
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 3 1970 12:00AM