402 U.S. 916 (1971), 1316, 2,606.84 Acres of Land In Tarrant County, Texas v. U.s

Docket Nº:No. 1316.
Citation:402 U.S. 916, 91 S.Ct. 1368, 28 L.Ed.2d 658
Party Name:2,606.84 ACRES OF LAND IN TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS, and Frank Corn, et al. v. UNITED STATES.
Case Date:April 19, 1971
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 916

402 U.S. 916 (1971)

91 S.Ct. 1368, 28 L.Ed.2d 658

2,606.84 ACRES OF LAND IN TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS, and Frank Corn, et al.



No. 1316.

United States Supreme Court.

April 19, 1971

        Rehearing Denied June 7, 1971.


         On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

         The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

         Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, whom Mr. Justice BLACK joins, dissenting.

         In 1945 Congress authorized the Benbrook Dam and Reservoir Project on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River near the southwest outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas.  The authorization stated in part:

        'The improvement of the Trinity River and tributaries, Texas, for navigation, flood control, and allied purposes is hereby approved and authorized in accordance with the reports contained in House Document Numbered 403, Seventy-seventh Congress.'  § 2, 59 Stat. 18.

         The project described in House Document 403 called for a gated spillway dam to be located on the Clear Fork at river mile 11.3.  The storage capacity of the reservoir in acre feet of water was to be dead storage, 603; conservation storage, 30,603; and controlled (combined conservation and flood control) storage, 208,850.  The elevation of the spillway crest was 672 feet and the top of the dam was 702 feet.  Approximately 6,200 acres of land would have been required.  Projected cost of the land was $483,600 and the entire project was estimated to cost about $5,205,502.

          [91 S.Ct. 1369] The project that was subsequently built bears little resemblance to the one described in House Document 403.  It is located 3.7 miles farther upstream at river mile 15.  It is an uncontrolled spillway type.  The notch crest of the spillway is 710 feet, and the main spillway crest is 724 feet.  The top of the dam is 747 feet.  The storage capacity in acre feet of water as stated by the Definite Project Report is dead storage, 17,750; conservation storage, 88,250; and controlled storage, 410,013.  Over 13,000

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acres of land were acquired at a cost of about $2,500,000; total project cost was well over $14,000,000.

         This case arose when the United States filed a petition for condemnation of petitioner's land in federal district court.  Some 1,207 acres were finally sought.  Of this land some lies below the elevation of 697.1 feet (conservation pool elevation, the maximum water level of the pool below flood stage).  That land below elevation 697.1 is not involved in the case here.  But some 647 acres lie above that elevation.  The Army Corps of Engineers took that land for recreation purposes.  Petitioners claim that taking is not authorized by law.  Petitioners have consistently contended that the land was taken for recreation purposes and that was not authorized under statutes authorizing the Benbrook Project and that the project, as built, was so radically and materially changed that it had to be resubmitted to Congress for a new authorization.

         Shortly after the Government filed its condemnation suit, petitioners' predecessor, Richardson, instituted discovery proceedings.  The Secretary of the Army refused to submit and the District Court abated the cause...

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