In a Little Rock Eminent Domain case, the Arkansas State Highway Commission condemned a portion of Otter Creek Auto Salvage & Sales, Inc.’s 3.21 acres along Stagecoach Rd. in Little Rock, Arkansas as part of a construction project to widen Hwy. 5 / Stagecoach Rd. from the Saline County Line to Otter Creek Road. On Friday, June 17, 2011, a Pulaski County jury unanimously awarded the local auto salvage and sales business $103,469.00 for the .28 acres and improvements condemned by the Highway Commission.
Moffitt & Phillips, Little Rock Eminent Domain attorneys for Otter Creek Auto Salvage & Sales, Inc., had asked for $113,000.00 for the taking based on an appraisal by Tom M. Ferstl of Affiliated Appraisers in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Arkansas State Highway Commission had offered Otter Creek only $53,650.00 for acquisition of the .28 acres and improvements needed for construction of the road widening project.
At issue in the case was the value of the Otter Creek property based on its commercial use. The Highway Commission’s appraiser valued the property at $2.65/sq.ft. while Mr. Ferstl valued the property at $7.28/sq.ft.. Both appraisers agreed that the Otter Creek property was commercial property with significant frontage along Stagecoach Rd. (550+ft), but the Highway Commission’s appraiser chose to use comparable sales with significantly less frontage along Stagecoach Rd.. Additionally, two of the Highway Commission’s comparable sales had residential improvements on them. Despite being told by the purchasers of these two comparable sales that they gave no consideration for the improvements, the Highway Commission’s appraiser backed the value of the residential improvements out of each property’s sales price to arrive at his $2.65/sq.ft. valuation. This case is a clear example of how an appraiser’s opinion in a Little Rock eminent domain case can significantly impact the amount of funds paid to a landowner facing a condemnation.
Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC is a Little Rock eminent domain law firm representing property owners across the state in eminent domain and condemnation cases.
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