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ARTICLE ID 194419

$________ – EMINENT DOMAIN – STATE TAKES SMALL PARCEL OF LAND FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECT INVOLVING ELIMINATION OF TRAFFIC CIRCLE – RAMP, PARAPET WALL, AND GUARDRAIL PLACED AS PART OF NEW CONSTRUCTION OBSTRUCTS PASSING VIEW OF DEALERSHIP –SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES VALUE PERMANENTLY

Burlington County, NJ

This was an eminent domain case, in which plaintiff State, had taken a small parcel from the front of defendants property that had been used as an automobile dealership as part of a large highway project to eliminate a nearby traffic circle. The defendant owner maintained that the State had constructed a ramp with a wall that gradually rose from three-13 feet as part of the permanent traffic solution. The parties agreed that defendant was entitled to compensation that was based on the highest and best use of the property, and the parties were in further agreement that such use was an automotive dealership. The parties were also in substantial agreement as to the value before the taking, with the owner appraising the property at approximately $________, and the State valuing the property at approximately $________. The defendant owner contended that that the road construction reduced the value of the property by more than $________. The plaintiff State denied that this position should be accepted, and maintained that the loss was limited to the approximate $________ in the value of small parcel of land that was taken, plus compensation for losses, sustained as a result of the 18-month easement. The State denied that the remainder of the property was affected, and the defendant owner contended that because presence of the ramp and wall that was built during the road construction, the front portion of the lot that contained the dealership’s most desirable vehicles was obstructed, and that passing motorists could not see the dealership building until they were as close as ________ feet from the property as vehicles were approaching. The defendant owner presented a car dealership expert who testified that these factors rendered the property unsuitable for a dealership. The plaintiff State denied that the long term value of the dealership was significantly diminished because of the taking. The evidence reflected that the property was not used as a car dealership, since the defendant owner maintained that in view of this evidence, the plaintiff state’s position should clearly be rejected. During the trial, the jury, which was also shown photographs, was taken to the scene, and the defendant owner argued that after viewing the property, it was clear that its position should be accepted.The jury awarded $________, including $________ for compensation for the value of the easement, and $________ for the reduction in value of the property taken.

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