A Benton County jury returned an Arkansas Condemnation Verdict on Tuesday awarding a Bella Vista couple $4.67 million for 19.26 acres which had been condemned by the Arkansas State Highway Commission to construct the Bella Vista Toll Facility, also known as the Bella Vista Bypass. In 2007, the Arkansas State Highway Commission condemned a portion of Thomas and Judith Terrell’s 72.89 acres along N. Walton Blvd. in Bentonville resulting in severely limited access to the remaining 53.63 acres of the Terrell’s property.
Michael B. Phillips and Brandon Moffitt, eminent domain attorneys for the Terrells, had asked for $5.6 million dollars for the taking based on an appraisal by Glen Carlson of Fayetteville, Arkansas and a conceptual development plan prepared by civil engineer Tim Sorey of Sand Creek Engineering in Bentonville, Arkansas. The Arkansas State Highway Commission offered the Terrells $1,132,100 for acquisition of the 19.26 acres needed for construction of the project. The Highway Commission based its determination on an appraisal conducted by Ray Fletcher of Reed & Associates, Inc. in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The six-man and six-woman jury deliberated for approximately an hour late Tuesday afternoon before returning with the multimillion-dollar Arkansas condemnation verdict. Ten jurors voted to pay the Terrells $4.67 million dollars for their property. In a civil jury trial, only nine of twelve jurors must agree on a verdict. According to the Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department’s public information office, this Arkansas condemnation verdict is the largest ever against the Arkansas State Highway Commission in a condemnation case.
The Bella Vista Bypass will connect Arkansas and Missouri with an interstate highway that will eventually be part of I-49. The proposed bypass is about 20 miles, extending from U.S. 71 just south of Bella Vista to U.S. 71 near Pineville, Mo.
Michael B. Phillips and Brandon Moffitt are members of Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC, an eminent domain law firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas representing property owners across the state in condemnation proceedings and dedicated to advancing the cause of property rights in Arkansas.
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