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Court Ruling: Eminent Domain Valuation Must Consider Potential Rezoning

Details provided regarding the Virginia Supreme Court ruling in Helmick Family Farm, LLC v. Commissioner of Highways.
September 11, 2019, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Helmick Family Farm property in question can be seen here below Poor Farm Road.

Robert Thomas writes on the Inversecondemnation blog about a recent ruling in the Virginia Supreme Court that will have an effect on eminent domain.

In the ruling for Helmick Family Farm, LLC v. Commissioner of Highways., according to Thomas, all seven justices agreed that evidence of a reasonable probability of rezoning may be admissible during an eminent domain valuation. "Where the court split 4-3 was on whether the situation on the ground (so to speak) merited the jury hearing about it," adds Thomas. "The majority concluded that the owner of a vacant plot of agriculturally-zoned land was wrongfully denied the ability to present to the jury evidence that there was a reasonable probability the property could be rezoned to a more intense use."

The ruling comes down to a question of hypotheticals, and whether the highest and best use of a property should be considered, not just its current use, as explained in the post. Thomas is clearly in support for the ruling, and expresses frustration with the legal status quo prior to the ruling, and the specific example that led to the case and the ruling.

Hat tip to Dwight Merriam for sharing news of Thomas's post, and for providing additional information on a similar example from New York.

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Published on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 in Inversecondemnation.com
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