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In re Condemnation by Pa., Dep’t of Transp. of Right-of-Way for State Route 00700, Section 21H, in Bentleyville

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

October 1, 2021

PennDOT took about one acre of land from a property that had a Best Western hotel on it and also took another acre to use during construction to build a new interstate exit ramp. A jury trial ensued over the property’s valuation. The evidence established that the property value decreased after the taking due to traffic noise from the new exit ramp. PennDOT’s expert claimed that the loss of business income was not compensable under the Eminent Domain Code. Though the jury awarded $355,000 to the property owner, it awarded $0 in damages for the decrease in the fair market value caused by the proximity of the new exit ramp. The trial court defended the verdict by opining that the loss in value was attributable to a decline in the oil and gas industry in the area. But the Commonwealth Court ruled that there was no evidence of record to support that claim and ordered a new trial on the amount of compensation PennDOT owed.

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