Monthly Archives: February 2022
February 11th, 2022 — In OCA Blog
Destruction of Gorge View Nets Residential Property Owner $2.9 million Award
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will pay $2.9 million to a landowner after its road-widening operation required it to take part of a three-acre tract of land in Caldwell County that had previously had an unobstructed view into the Grandfather Mountain Gorge, OCA North Carolina member George Autry reports. NCDOT had initially contended that the plot, owned by the Arbuckle family, was unsuitable for development altogether. But after expert engineers proved this to be untrue, NCDOT acknowledged that damages would be caused. George Autry was joined by OCA Members Stephanie Autry and Jeremy Hopkins in representing the Arbuckles. The family contended that the property was worth more than three-and-a-quarter million dollars. NCDOT had initially offered only $432,950. An additional issue increasing the potential recovery in the matter was the especially long period over which it had dragged out in court. The parties had been in dispute since 2011. “There was well over $1.5 million in interest that was at stake,” Hopkins said.
February 11th, 2022 — In OCA Blog
OCA Member Michael Faherty Defends Against Taking of Historic Outbound Station in Pennsylvania
An historic station that was built as the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Conshohocken Station circa 1890 is now the subject of a taking by the Borough of Conshohocken for alleged park purposes. Although passenger service at the Outbound Station ceased in 1962, after the property was purchased by Joe and Barb Collins and lovingly restored, it was used for nearly 30 years as an antique store, and more recently, leased to the Couch Tomato Cafe. OCA Emeritus Member Michael Faherty recently wrote an open letter to the Borough challenging their right to take the property by eminent domain on several grounds, including a failure to identify a specific use for the property. “Instead of listing an identified, researched and needed public purpose,” Mr. Faherty states in his letter, “the proposed ordinance only listed multiple possible, future public purposes as…including, but not necessarily limited to, public open spaces, parks, recreation, and public parking. Such a vague assertion of potential public purpose fails to adequately state the purpose as required 26 Pa. C.S.A.(b)(4).”
February 8th, 2022 — In OCA Blog
Legacy Trail Property Owners Receive Favorable Decision in Federal Case
In Cheshire Hunt v. United States, the Court of Federal Claims ruled recently in favor of landowners who held property abutting an abandoned railway that was subsequently converted into a public recreational rail-trail called the Legacy Trail. The property owners were represented by OCA Member, Thor Hearne. As part of the rail-trail conversion, Sarasota County had demanded that the owners remove fences and other structures from the one-hundred-foot-wide rail-trail corridor, even though those structures had existed for decades with the County’s and the railroad’s permission, and even though the structures had not interfered with the railroad’s operations. In the newly issued decision, the court held that the federal government was responsible for paying for the cost of removing these structures under a given set of criteria. Thor Hearne has successfully represented many property owners in these rails to trails conversions and is considered an expert in the area. For more information and background about this case, visit the True North Law Firm website.