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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Page: 3 of 6

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

Raising Issues of Statutory Compliance…And No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

What happens when a condemnor offers to pay more for a taking than its appraiser found for damages? Most landowners would be pleased. In this case, the landowner apparently was not, claiming the condemnor failed to base its jurisdictional offer on the appraisal amount because the offer was higher than the appraisal. Thus, the argument was that the condemnor failed to follow the statutory requirement to provide an appraisal upon which the jurisdictional offer is based. The Court of Appeals... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
January 5, 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

Uneconomic Remnant: One Circuit Court Judge’s View

As an eminent domain practitioner, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Waller v. American Transmission Company last year left me…unsatisfied. Instead of acknowledging the statutory morass created by the legislature (incidentally, a morass acknowledged by both condemnors’ and landowners’ counsel), the majority decision ignores the procedural problems with the statutes and does nothing to make things easier for either landowners or condemnors. In my opinion, the problems with the decision relate more to the procedural aspects of asserting an uneconomic... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
September 10, 2014

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

Seizing Mortgages – New Cities Show Interest in Richmond’s Eminent Domain Plan

In a previous post, we discussed the city of Richmond, California, and its failure to get a supermajority vote to move forward with its plan to seize underwater mortgages through its eminent domain power. While it failed to pass the resolution, it sought other California cities, such as San Francisco, to join a joint powers authority to implement the plan. It appears that San Francisco is now considering joining Richmond’s joint powers authority as members of the San Francisco Board of... Read More ›
July 16, 2014

Recovery of Litigation Expenses in Wisconsin and a Landowner Attorney Gaming the System

Based on anecdotal evidence I have acquired over the years, and certainly not any rigorous research, I have concluded that Wisconsin has a fairly generous statutory scheme for compensating landowner attorneys if they meet the threshold for recovering litigation expenses. Again, solely based on personal observation, it is not uncommon for attorneys representing landowners to “game” the system to maximize the possibility of such recovery. It is rare, however, for a court to recognize an attorney is doing so, and... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
July 8, 2014

Takings Cannot Be Too Large or Too Small: They Must Be “Just Right”

The blog www.inversecondemnation.com recently posted an article explaining the Utah Supreme Court, in Utah Dep’t of Transportation v. Carlson, No. 20120414 (June 24, 2014), addressed the issue of whether or not the Utah DOT could take excess land in order to avoid a dispute regarding severance damages. In that case, the Utah DOT took all 15 acres from the landowner, even though it only needed 1.2 acres for the road project. While the Utah Supreme Court agreed with the trial... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
July 7, 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