A recent Commonwealth Court decision reaffirmed the opportunity for a property valuation witness to rely upon hearsay evidence in forming an opinion of property value. In re Condemnation by Turnpike Commission, No. 1131 C.D. 2017 (April 10,2018) a property owner appraiser relied upon an affidavit of a neighbor about the property owners ability to obtain a driveway easement. The affadavit was relied upon in support of a highest or best use for hotel development. The decision cited 26 Pa. C.S.A 703 and the Eminent Domain Code provision which allows an expert to rely on “facts or data” which the expert did not personally observe. Use of this particular rule for eminent domain evidence can be very beneficial in production of evidence of full just compensation.
The Penn East pipeline across northern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey continues with FERC approval and multiple eminent domain challenges. Recently another challenge was added via a New Jersey request that FERC reconsider the pipeline impact. Although unlikely, the effort could derail the pipeline in both states.
New Jersey asks appeals court to review FERC’s approval of PennEast pipeline
FERC erred in awarding Public Convenience and Necessity certificate, AG says
One of the first acts of Gurbir Grewal when he became New Jersey’s attorney general was to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rehear its decision to certify a crucial aspect of the controversial PennEast pipeline; the proposed pipeline would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to Mercer County. Monday, Grewal filed a petition with a federal appeals court that challenges FERC on that certification.
Grewal filed a petition yesterday with the District of Columbia Circuit Court, asking it to hear the state’s arguments that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) erred when it […]
An April 30, 2018 decision of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejected six of seven claims against Sunoco re environmental harms and eminent domain overreach. One claim, based on the Environmental Rights Amendment, was directed to further consideration by the Commonwealth Court.
Read the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decision here.
Mike Faherty was provided the “Ideal Scout” award by the Lancaster Council of Boy Scouts. Mike an Eagle Scout and former Boy Scout employee, provided pro bono services to the Scouts when a scout camp was threatened by eminent domain. Mike was able to decrease the land acquired and increase compensation.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission condemned 70.9 acres through a 240 acre sportsman’s club. The Turnpike paid $1,750,000 for property damages and no funds for relocation damages. Faherty Law Firm provided representation and obtained a settelement for an additional $5,000,000 in total damages.
Turnpike buys gun club land near near McDonald for $5 million
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has acquired a key piece of property to allow the construction of an interchange on the Southern Beltway — and protect the safety of motorists.
But it came at a hefty price: $5 million.
That’s the amount the commission agreed to pay last week to buy 70.9 acres of land from the McDonald Sportsmen’s Association, leaving the association 168.4 acres of property off of Cooks Road between McDonald and Midway, Washington County.
The commission needs the land to build interchange 11 on the $800 million, 13-mile toll road that will link Route 22 to Interstate 79 on the Allegheny-Washington County border. That interchange will be on the northeast […]
DEFERRING TAXES ON §1033 EXCHANGES
Eminent domain lawyers work hard to secure just compensation for property owners. However, in gain situations, the IRS and most states want their share, too. Fortunately, solutions are available that seek to soften or eliminate the tax bite. When property is involuntarily converted, I.R.C. §1033 provides guidelines to defer capital gains and other taxes. Known as a “1033 exchange”, the code allows for non-recognition status if the proceeds are invested in similar property within 2 years after the close of the first taxable year in which any part of the gain is realized. Similar generally means property that is “similar or related in service or use” to the property so converted, terms that the IRS narrowly defines. Note that this period is extended to 3 years for condemnations of investment property, and more liberal “like-kind” rules apply to replacement property. The longer exchange period provides ample opportunity for tax planning. If properly structured, property owners can […]
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has ruled for Sunoco Pipeline in the matter of Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Sunoco Pipeline, No. 952 C.D. 2017 (Feb. 20, 2018). The court reasoned that a township lacks zoning authority to prohibit a pipeline facility regulated by the Pennsylvania PUC.
Pennsylvania law allows public utility corporations to use eminent domain power when the proposed use is “for the public”. If the proposed use is for the corporation and the public, Pennsylvania law looks to who is the primary and paramount beneficiary. If it is the corporation, Pennsylvania law precludes eminent domain power.
Transource sues landowners for access to properties where power lines are proposed
Transource Energy has sued 24 landowners, asking a Franklin County, Pa., judge to allow the public utility’s representatives to access properties to perform studies, tests and surveys as it proceeds with plans for 29 miles of overhead electric-transmission lines.
The company, through a subsidiary, requested in court documents immediate right of entry onto defendants’ properties. It claims landowners are prohibiting access despite “numerous contacts” since October.
“As a Pennsylvania public utility, Transource Pennsylvania has the power of eminent domain pursuant to the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law of 1988,” lawyers said in filings.
Transource Pennsylvania made its filings a week ago at […]
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Corporation, Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, issued a report requesting an emergency order to stop the use of Mariner East 1 for transportation of explosive natural gas ligquids. The well grounded safety concerns compelled the PUC Chairman to stop the transportation of the hazardous liquids. Inspections and monitoring will follow.
PUC shuts down Mariner East 1 pipeline, citing public safety concerns raised by sinkholes
Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission on Wednesday ordered a temporary shutdown of the Mariner East 1 natural gas liquids pipeline, saying it could have a “catastrophic” effect on public safety if it leaks.
PUC Chairman Gladys Brown approved a request by the commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement for an emergency order that would halt operation of the line until inspectors are satisfied that it meets safety standards.
The panel, in a petition issued earlier Wednesday, argued that the pipeline had been exposed by the appearance of sinkholes near the construction of two other pipelines – Mariner […]
Eminent domain power is available only for a public use with the need for certain property rights. Public use and the need are two issues raised in a county suit to protect property rights.
Northampton County challenging PennEast on eminent domain
Northampton County wants a jury to decide whether publicly protected open space should be disturbed by the proposed PennEast Pipeline.
The county is one of dozens of landowners in Northampton and Upper Bucks counties targeted by the consortium of energy companies for property acquisition through eminent domain.
These properties are part of the proposed route for the 36-inch-diameter natural gas line connecting Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region 120 miles southeast to Mercer County, New Jersey.
PennEast opened eminent domain proceedings, suing property owners in federal court after efforts failed to purchase land for the route.
Federal regulators approved the $1 billion pipeline Jan. 19, conditioned on PennEast securing other necessary approvals.
The county disputes PennEast’s power to condemn publicly preserved open space through eminent domain. The parcels […]