Keator v. State, 43164

Decision Date12 December 1968
Docket NumberNo. 43164,43164
Citation23 N.Y.2d 337,244 N.E.2d 248,296 N.Y.S.2d 767
Parties, 244 N.E.2d 248 F. Lee KEATOR et al., Appellants, v. STATE of New York, Respondent. Claim
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals

John T. DeGraff, Albany, Herman E. Gottfried, Margaretville, and Margrethe R. Powers, Albany, for appellants.

Louis J. Lefkowitz, Atty. Gen. (Jeremiah Jochnowitz, Ruth Kessler Toch and Emil Woldar, Albany, of counsel), for respondent.

JASEN, Judge.

The State appropriated two pieces of claimants' land in Delaware County, located on both sides of State Route 30 and bordered on the East Branch of the Delaware River.

The property consisted of 0.267 acres and a wood-frame clubhouse, 52 feet long and 24 feet in depth, containing a meeting and dining room, together with a kitchen and sanitation facilities. The premises were used for meetings and social events sponsored by 'The Isaac Walton League,' an organization formed for 'educational and conservation' purposes. The property was improved by the claimants for club use because of its unique location, as described in the record: 'The land consists of about 0.42 acres, having 138 feet of frontage along the north side of Route 30, and 75 feet of frontage on the south side and along the East Branch of the Delaware River. The river, § it courses past the property, is a clear, fast running stream, 80 to a hundred feet in width, and at this point, just above the confluence of the Bush Kill stream, forms a deep and excellent pool for both swimming and trout fishing. * * * The East Branch of the Delaware River is considered one of the best trout streams by the Conservation Department of the State of New York, and it's also enjoyed many years of fame throughout the northeastern United States as being an excellent sports fishery. And, this property enjoyed frontage along one of the fine deep holes in this river.'

The Court of Claims awarded $15,900 to the condemnees. The Appellate Division reduced the award to $12,000 holding that '(i)n arriving at damages so greatly in excess of the state's proof, the Trial Court necessarily relied to a great extent on the proof adduced from the claimants' expert, which incorrectly added building reproduction costs to land value, without any suggestion that the property was either unique or a specialty.' 26 A.D.2d 961, 274 N.Y.S.2d 671.

It is the general rule that 'just compensation' is to be determined by reference to the fair market value of the property at the date N.Y. 452, 14 N.E.2d 789 (1938); County of Erie v. Fridenberg, 221 of taking (Matter of Board of Water Supply of City of New York, 277 N.Y. 389, 117 N.E. 611), and that the fair market value is the price for which the property would sell if there was a willing buyer who was under no compulsion to buy and a willing seller under no compulsion to sell (Matter of Board of Water Supply of City of New York, supra). In the determination of the fair market value, the condemnee is entitled to have the appraisal based on the highest and best available use of the property irrespective of whether he is so using it (Matter of City of Rochester (Smith St. Bridge), 234 App.Div. 583, 255 N.Y.S. 801 (4th Dept., 1932); Albany Country Club v. State of New York, 37 Misc.2d 134, 235 N.Y.S.2d 684 (Ct. of Claims, 1962), mod. 19 A.D.2d 199, 241 N.Y.S.2d 604 (3d Dept., 1963), affd. 13 N.Y.2d 1085, 246 N.Y.S.2d 407, 196 N.E.2d 62; Central School Dist. No. 1 v. State of New York, 46 Misc.2d 1072, 261 N.Y.S.2d 759, (Ct. of Claims, 1965), affd. 28 A.D.2d 1062, 284 N.Y.S.2d 171 (3d Dept., 1967)). That is, considering the best use to which the property could reasonably be put, what is its fair market value?

However, in some cases the use of the fair market value approach becomes unworkable. (Diocese of Buffalo v. State of New York, 43 Misc.2d 337, 250 N.Y.S.2d 961, mod. 23 A.D.2d 958, 261 N.Y.S.2d 209, affd. 18 N.Y.2d 41, 271 N.Y.S.2d 670, 218 N.E.2d 544 (1966).) For such things as a church, school or clubhouse (generally referred to as specialty property) there is no readily recognizable market and testimony as to a fair market price is not usually available. While this property might be worth to the owners all that it cost, it would not be 'marketable' in the accepted sense of the word because there is no similar group in the area which would offer to buy the clubhouse for its reproduction value. (Matter of Simmons, 127 N.Y.S. 940, 941 (Sup.Ct., 1910); see discussion in 4 Nichols, Eminent Domain (3d ed., 1962), § 12.32.)

Since the character of the property is such as not to be susceptible to the rule of fair market value, an award based on the actual or intrinsic value would...

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  • Town of Hempstead (Point Lookout in Vicinity of Sea Spray Drive East), Matter of, 1
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    ...past, fair market value has been equated with just compensation, it is not a magical formula (see, e. g., Keator v. State of New York, 23 N.Y.2d 337, 296 N.Y.S.2d 767, 244 N.E.2d 248; Matter of Board of Water Supply of City of N.Y., 277 N.Y. 452, 14 N.E.2d 789) to be dogmatically followed. ......
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    ...Matter of Rochester Urban Renewal Agency [ patchen post], 45 N.Y.2d 1, 8, 407 N.Y.S.2d 641, 379 N.E.2d 169;Keator v. State of New York, 23 N.Y.2d 337, 339, 296 N.Y.S.2d 767, 244 N.E.2d 248;Matter of Village of Dobbs Ferry v. Stanley Ave. Props., Inc., 95 A.D.3d at 1029, 944 N.Y.S.2d 241;Che......
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    ......State Colleges (Board) agreed to purchase the plaintiff's land and buildings for $4,200,000. The ...Concord Baptist Church, Inc., 257 Md. 132, 142, 262 A.2d 75 (1970); Keator v. State, 23 N.Y.2d 337, 340, 296 N.Y.S.2d 767, 244 . Page 668. N.E.2d 248 (1968); Assembly of God ......
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    • New York Court of Appeals
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    ...the date of the taking (Matter of City of New York 25 N.Y.2d 146, 148, 303 N.Y.S.2d 47, 250 N.E.2d 333; Keator v. State of New York, 23 N.Y.2d 337, 339, 296 N.Y.S.2d 767, 244 N.E.2d 248). Here both sides agreed upon capitalization of net rental income as the proper measure of fair market va......
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