Board of Com'rs of Santa Fe County v. Slaughter

CourtSupreme Court of New Mexico
Citation158 P.2d 859,49 N.M. 141,1945 -NMSC- 019
Docket Number4813.
Decision Date09 May 1945

158 P.2d 859

49 N.M. 141, 1945 -NMSC- 019


No. 4813.

Supreme Court of New Mexico

May 9, 1945

Appeal from District Court, Santa Fe County; William J. Barker, Judge.

Proceeding by the Board of County Commissioners of Santa Fe County, New Mexico, against Phyllis W. Slaughter, administratrix of the estate of Thad C. Slaughter, deceased, and others to condemn certain realty. From the judgment fixing the amount of compensation, plaintiff appeals.

Reversed with directions.

See, also, 158 P.2d 854.

David W. Carmody, Dist. Atty., and Carl H. Gilbert, both of Santa Fe, for appellant.

Seth & Montgomery, of Santa Fe, for appellees.

MABRY, Chief Justice.

This appeal arises out of a condemnation proceeding filed by the Board of County Commissioners of Santa Fe County in the District Court of the First Judicial District in and for Santa Fe County. The original appellees, defendants below, Thad C. Slaughter and Emma J. Slaughter, his wife, were the owners of the property condemned. Since the suit herein was commenced, the original appellees, Thad C. [49 N.M. 142] Slaughter and Emma J. Slaughter, have both died, and the case has been revived in the name of Phyllis W. Slaughter, administratrix of the estate of Thad C. Slaughter, deceased, hereinafter to be referred to as appellee, or 'owner'. The rights of other appellees herein are, necessarily, controlled by the disposition we make of the claim of appellee Phyllis W. Slaughter, and their situations, or rights, need not be separately, or further, noticed.

The regular statutory proceedings under the provisions of 1941 Comp., Section 25-901 et seq., were had with reference to the appointing of commissioners, or appraisers. An order of immediate entry was granted, the report of the commissioners filed, and a surety bond was furnished by the plaintiff in the amount of $15,000. Appellant board excepted to the report of the commissioners, the exceptions were overruled and appellants appealed to the District Court of Santa Fe County. Trial was had in the district court upon the stipulation entered into by and between counsel for appellant and appellees, and, after hearing, the court entered its judgment in favor of the appellant in so far as the right to condemn was concerned, but in favor of the appellee, the owner, in so far as the amount of damages and compensation were concerned, the judgment being in the amount of $11,000. It is from this judgment for damages that appellant, plaintiff in the court below, has taken its appeal.

U. S. Highway No. 85 between Glorietta, Santa Fe County, and Rowe, San Miguel County, at the time of the filing of this cause, went through the Slaughters' property. Immediately bordering upon this highway they had constructed a store, restaurant, residence, filling station and [158 P.2d 860] numerous tourist cabins; and, they had made other substantial improvements of a permanent nature. The area surrounding these buildings has been landscaped and the Slaughters have conducted a tourist business at this location for many years.

The New Mexico State Highway Department, in attempting to straighten out the many curves upon the highway, surveyed a new route upon which it is intended to relocate U.S. Highway No. 85. This new route also goes through the rear of appellee Slaughter's property, approximately three-eighths of a mile from the improvements, bearing in a southerly direction from the present location of U.S. Highway 85. There was sought to be condemned from the appellee Slaughter in this proceeding some 13 1/2 acres of land which is to be, and now is, used for highway right of way purposes. Lying between the location of the owner's improvements and the new right of way is a mesa rising precipitously, approximately 200' in altitude, which makes direct access with the new highway practically impossible.

It is agreed by the parties that the actual value of the land taken is $10 per acre, or the sum of $136.32. However, the owner contends that by reason of the rerouting of most of the vehicular traffic away from the old highway and onto the new highway, a shorter route and a better improved road, [49 N.M. 143] her property will be damaged in the amount of $11,000. Incidentally, it is stipulated to be the present intention of the New Mexico Highway Department to maintain the present, or old, road, thus emphasizing the absence of blocking, or stoppage, of ingress or egress. It may be agreed, of course, that with the new and more direct highway now completed, the normal tourist traffic on U.S. Highway 85 will not be over the old road. The trial court found that the taking of the small portion from the larger and compact tract of appellee's land did not of itself damage or injure the portion left, in any manner. It is conceded that unless this additional compensation claimed may arise because of the re-routing of the traffic, no recoverable damages in addition to the $136.32, the price...

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