We Don’t Need No Stinking Appalachian Trail

          The 600-mile Atlantic coast pipeline is an 8-billion-dollar project.  The pipeline is cutting a scar across the Appalachian Mountains to move fracked natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina.           The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated a permit allowing the pipeline to cross the trail deep underground.           Stretching 2,192 miles from Main to Georgia, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is the longest and most popular footpath in the world.           The Supreme Court held argument as to what will happen to… read more

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Pipelines, Uncategorized
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What are Trade Fixtures in Condemnation?

          Trade fixtures are general those personal property improvements installed for business purposes.  In a recent Court of Appeals decision, Matter of City of New York (Kaiser Woodcraft Corp.), 11 NY3d 353 (2008), it was noted that “New York takes a broad view in evaluating what improvements are to be regarded as (trade) fixtures.”  Citing, Rose v State of New York, 24 NY2d 80, 86 (1969).           The classic definition of a compensable trade fixture is an item added to the premises with the intention that it becomes a permanent… read more

Posted in Trade fixtures, Uncategorized, Unit Rule
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How’s the Wall Going?

Texas           In Texas, the U.S.-Mexico Border is a river, and 95 percent of the adjoining land is privately owned.  Anywhere Trump builds his wall in Texas, he’ll have to wrench land from farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and deeply rooted Hispanic families.  Just downriver from the target land, for example, lies a stretch that includes an RV park frequented by Winter Texans, a bar and grill that offers river cruises, and the historic La Lomita chapel.  No construction contract has been awarded there yet, but the feds expect to do so… read more

Posted in Historic Monuments, Native American Sites, Trump's Wall, Uncategorized
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          In an excellent article written by Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel LLP, we are advised that the New York City Council recently adopted a zoning text that updates public space signage and seating regulations at privately owned public spaces (POPS) like plazas, arcades, sidewalk widenings and other public accessible spaces.  These spaces are usually created by a variance or floor area bonus.           The new ordinance also applies to seating including benches, movable chairs and seat walls.  The tables and chairs must be available to the public without restriction… read more

Posted in POPS, Public Sign Requirements, Seating in POPS, Uncategorized
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          This article is written from the New York State perspective.  There are factors in play in New York which are very different from the remainder of the country.  First, Kelo v City of New London, 545 US 469 (2005) hardly presented a shock to the New York condemnation bar.  New York’s law was always, and still is, decidedly slanted towards condemnors.  Secondly, redevelopment never stopped.  There was never any recession impact on redevelopment. Authorizing and Challenging the Condemnation Article 2 of New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law sets forth… read more

Posted in Contesting a Taking, Redevelopment, Uncategorized
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How to Value Contaminated Land

          This Appellate Division, in Matter of City of New York v Mobil Oil Corp., 12 AD3d 77 (2d Dept, 2004), a case of first impression in New York, held that the most efficacious way to acknowledge that land may be contaminated in an eminent domain proceeding is to value the condemned property as if remediated, but to hold in escrow any condemnation award pending the outcome of the Navigation Law proceeding.[1]  This court stated, [B]y excluding evidence of remediation costs in an eminent domain proceeding, the potential that the… read more

Posted in Contaminated Land, Uncategorized, Valuing Contaminated Land
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Creative Approaches to Solving Difficult Appraisal Problems

          We start any evaluation of a parcel which has been taken by the exercise of eminent domain by the application of the overriding principal of the concept of highest and best use.           The concept of highest and best use is well founded in appraisal practice.  Regardless of whether property has been condemned, in valuing any parcel of real estate an appraiser must make a highest and best use of the land analysis as though the property were vacant and as though it were improved.  This is an essential… read more

Posted in Highest and Best Use, Uncategorized, Unusual Land
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          New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL) provides that a condemnor must make an advance payment to a former owner in the amount of its highest approved appraisal.  (EDPL Sec. 304).           The statute contemplated payment of the advance payment to the owner except in three circumstances: (1) Where there is a potential conflict of title or dispute as to who is entitled to receive the payment; (2) where more than 90 days have passed following vesting of title in the condemnor and an agreement has not been reached;… read more

Posted in Advance Payment Agreement, Advance Payments, Distribution Proceeding, Uncategorized
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          The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a dispute over a natural gas pipeline’s crossing of the Appalachian Trail.  Developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline fought a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found that the Forest Service lacked the ability to authorize the project to run under the trial.  The joint owners, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Company, stated, “We are confident in our arguments, and those of the Solicitor General, and are hopeful the Supreme Court will overturn the Fourth Circuit’s decision and… read more

Posted in Appalachian Trail, Keystone Pipeline, Pipelines, Uncategorized
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          The First Department handed down an interesting decision distinguishing an eminent domain claim from a tort claim.  In 82 Willis, LLC v The City of New York, ____ AD3d ____ [1st Dept 2019], 2019 NY Slip Op 08162, the Claimant filed a claim pursuant to EDPL Sec. 503 in the condemnation proceeding asserting a taking for an easement over its lot.  When it submitted its appraisal, it sought damages for flooding after rainfall.  The City moved to strike the appraisal on the basis that the flooding damages do not… read more

Posted in Flooding, Inverse Condemnation, Tort Claim for Flooding, Uncategorized
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