Posted by: Patricia Salkin | March 10, 2014

NY Appellate Court Upholds $6.5M Award of Just Compensation in Eminent Domain Case and Agreed that Subject Property Should be Valued on a Per-Acre Basis Rather than on Basis of How Many Units Could be Developed Thereon

The Village of Haverstraw appealed from a trial court decision awarding the condemnee the principal sum of $6,500,000 as just compensation for the taking of the condemnee’s real property.

The appellate court found that the trial properly accepted the conclusion of the condemnee’s appraiser that the property’s highest and best use was for multi-family residential development. The court reasoned that the condemnee’s appraiser sufficiently and credibly explained the basis for his selection of comparable properties and relevant adjustments made to the valuation of these properties, while the Village of Haverstraw did not demonstrate the property would have been suitable only for light industrial development, absent the urban redevelopment plan, which encompassed the subject property. Furthermore, even though the trial court made certain changes to the final results presented in the condemnee’s appraisal, the court found that it adequately explained its reasons for making those changes. Accordingly, the court held that the determination of the trial court was within the range of expert testimony and was therefore adequately supported by the record.

The appellate court also held that the trial court did not err in valuing the subject property on a per-acre basis rather than on the basis of how many units could be developed thereon (see Matter of County of Suffolk [Firester], 37 N.Y.2d at 653, 376 N.Y.S.2d 458, 339 N.E.2d 154; Matter of Breitenstein v. State of New York, 245 A.D.2d at 839–840, 666 N.Y.S.2d 769). For the aforementioned reasons, the court upheld the Supreme Court’s holding.

Village of Haverstraw v. AAA Electricians, Inc., 114 A.D.3d 955 (N.Y. A.D. 2 Dept. 2/26/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_01332.htm


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