South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Likely Value of Property After Rezoning May Be Considered in Eminent Domain
Description Georgia high court held that when the value of property is determined in cases of eminent domain condemnation, compensation may be based on the likely value of the property after rezoning, not the value in its current zoning status.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Eminent Domain; Condemnation; Valuation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Watson owned 50 acres of land in Georgia that was zoned for single-family development. The county condemned the land to take it for public use. A special master awarded Watson $480,000 as the actual market value of the property. Watson protested that award at trial, contending that the land was likely to be rezoned for multi-family residential use, which would increase its value significantly. The jury awarded Watson $2,775,000 as just and adequate compensation. The court of appeals upheld that verdict, the county appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. When there is a possibility or probability that the current zoning status of property will be amended in the near future, so as to have an appreciable influence on the present market value of the property, that possible value may be considered. Here an expert testified about the likely change in zoning and property value; that provided adequate basis to determine the value to be paid in compensation.

Citation Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County v. Watson, --- S.E.2d --- (2003 WL 396392, Sup. Ct., Ga., 2003)

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