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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Category: Highway

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Says No Taking, Even if Your Business Closes

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided an inverse condemnation case,  Aamaans Properties, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation,1 on December 26, 2018. Aamaans Properties, Inc. (Aamaans) owned a property on State Trunk Highway 26 with a gas station and a McDonald’s. WisDOT relocated the highway, resulting in circuitous and inconvenient access to the property. The McDonald’s closed, and Aamaans lost the property in foreclosure. Aamaans sued WisDOT for inverse condemnation, claiming that the highway relocation was a taking requiring compensation.... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
February 1, 2019

Loss in Value Caused by Police Power Not Recoverable

Compensation for police power acts is a hot issue in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin court of appeals recently affirmed an order excluding evidence of a significant loss in property value caused by a relocated access point. See North Mayfair, LLC v. Department of Transportation, No. 17AP256 (Wis. Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2018) (not recommended for publication). Depending on which expert you believe, the relocation of the access point caused the property to lose between $1 million and $2.5 million in value.... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
March 7, 2018

“Controlled-Access Highway” Allows the DOT to Control More Than Just the Highway

This article is co-authored by Attorneys Michelle Martin and Sara Beachy. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently decided Hoffer Properties, LLC v. State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation, a case involving the elimination of a property’s direct access points to a controlled-access highway.  In Hoffer, the Wisconsin DOT took two actions: (1) eliminated Hoffer’s direct access to State Trunk Highway 19 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin; and (2) acquired a portion of Hoffer’s property to extend a road to be able to... Read More ›

The DOT Made What Argument???

We have seen a lot of arguments that have left us scratching our heads, but one made by the DOT in a recent inverse condemnation case certainly ranks near the top of the list. In Somers USA, LLC v. Wisconsin Dep’t of Transportation, 2015 WI App 33, the DOT refused to compensate a landowner for taking its land for a highway project based on a scrivener’s error. The landowner recorded a survey known as a CSM stating it was “dedicating”... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
July 27, 2015

No Taking, No Compensation

Here is another decision reinforcing the concept that the DOT has to take something away from you before you are entitled to just compensation, and if something is, in fact, taken, the alleged loss has to be connected to what was taken. Our prior post here discussing the 118th Street Kenosha, LLC, v. Wisconsin Dept. of Trans. supports this proposition in a case involving lost highway access by a business. The landowner in this recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision, Anthony... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
May 18, 2015

Supreme Court Rejects Business’s Loss of Value Claim for Lost Street Access

Highway projects regularly change the access points that properties have to roads, and landowners believe (correctly or incorrectly) the change in the access affects the value of their business or property. Few can argue that access isn’t important to certain types of commercial uses. During construction of highway projects, the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) regularly obtains temporary limited easements (“TLE”) to complete the construction of its projects. However, the taking of the easement may not cause the loss of access.... Read More ›
January 15, 2015

Court of Appeals Allows Expert Testimony on Permit Issue and Bars Similar Sale Evidence

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently issued a decision permitting a DOT appraiser to testify that a landowner would have been required to obtain a new driveway access permit from the DOT to convert his property to a commercial use. This resulted in a lower value for the subject property. In the same ruling, the Court of Appeals barred the landowner from introducing evidence of what the DOT paid other nearby property owners for similar land. While the decision is... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
January 5, 2015

No Compensation for Loss of Direct Access to a Controlled-Access Highway

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held in an unpublished opinion that a property owner was not entitled to compensation when the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) removed its direct access to a controlled-access highway and replaced it with an alternate access. Hoffer Properties, LLC (“Hoffer”), owned property that abutted State Highway 19. The property had direct driveway access to this controlled-access highway. A controlled-access highway is a highway designed for high-speed traffic with all traffic flow and entrance and departure points regulated... Read More ›
July 16, 2014

Supreme Court to Decide Compensation for Loss of Road Access

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently accepted review of a case that will have substantial implications for those businesses that lose street access to due to Department of Transportation (“DOT”) road projects. Specifically, the outcome of this case will help determine the extent that the DOT must compensate a business owner when it removes access to the property. The plaintiff, 118th Street Kenosha, LLC (“118th Street Kenosha”), owns a four-store shopping center near State Trunk Highway 50 and Interstate 94 in... Read More ›
April 25, 2014