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KENNETH D. CROCKER v. MISSISSIPPI STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION

NOVEMBER 23, 1988

KENNETH D. CROCKER
v.
MISSISSIPPI STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION



BEFORE DAN M. LEE, P.J.; ROBERTSON AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

Today's appeal is from a jury's compensation award made to a commercial property owner a part of whose frontage has been taken in a highway widening project. We are presented issues regarding the property owner's alleged moving expenses, his expert's proffer of a valuation opinion based on capitalization of rent loss, and the weight of the evidence of compensation due. Having carefully considered the matter, we affirm.

 II.

 A.

 Kenneth D. Crocker (Crocker) is a gunsmith by trade. His business is at 1011 E. Peace Street, Canton, Mississippi, on State Highway 16. Crocker uses the building there located to practice his trade and conduct a sporting goods business. The Mississippi State Highway Commission (MSHC) has sought to widen State Highway 16 from two lanes to three. MSHC calls its project No. 79-0024-02-007-10. Crocker calls it a taking without just compensation.

 The strip of land taken is a parallelogram, 53.8 feet along Highway 16, with a depth of 10.7 feet. It is .013 acres, or 575.66 square feet. Prior to the taking Crocker's lot was regular in shape, approximately .19 acres total.

 Post-taking, the lot will have approximately .177 acres, or 7738 square feet, remaining.

 On the lot is a two story masonry block building. The downstairs is the gun shop, upstairs a presently (at time of trial) vacant three bedroom, one bath apartment. The downstairs is twenty-four feet wide and thirty-six feet deep, approximately 864 square feet. Along the east side of the building runs a fourteen by fifty foot covered carport. Also, there is parking in front, but it is limited to a few vehicles, and they must be "crammed in" . After the taking, the southwest corner of a metal awning in front of Crocker's building will extend between four and five inches into the highway right of way. Also, the southwest corner of the building will be fourteen feet from the highway, the southeast corner 18 feet.

 Highway department engineer, William S. Cobb (Cobb), explained the need for widening Highway 16. Importantly, Cobb testified the construction plat was amended to move a concrete island to the east to allow better access to the side of Crocker's building to park in the back. Cobb observed that the access to the back "will be adequate, it'll be tight, but he can get through there, yes" .

 Next, Kathy Bass Russell (Russell), real estate appraiser for the Mississippi State Highway Department, testified, after being qualified as an expert. Russell testified the building was in fair condition, that parking would be reduced to zero in front, but parking in back was accessible. Russell offered her opinion that the value of the property taken was $1200.00 and that damages to the remainder was $24,800.00. Put otherwise, Russell testified that the building had a before value of $43,200.00 (land $18,400.00 and building $24,800.00) and an after value of $17,200.00 (land $17,200.00 and building 0.00) for a due compensation of $26,000.00.

 Crocker offered Robert D. Morrow as an expert in real estate valuations. Morrow gave his opinion that before the taking Crocker's property had a fair market value of $57,000.00. After the taking that value had been reduced to $7,400.00. Morrow employed the three recognized approaches to fair market value. Under the market data approach, Morrow determined comparable property had a gross rent multiplier of 6.8 (fair market value of comparable property divided by its annual rental value) and that Crocker's shop and apartment could rent for $700/month, or $8400/year ($8400x6.8=$57,120).

 Under the replacement cost method, Morrow testified a contractor would rebuild for $72,000.00, and Marshal and Swift

 showed $73,200.00. The current building has an effective life of twenty years, and remaining useful life of thirty years, so forty per cent depreciation was taken. Thus, the building's before value under this method is $43,800.00 (note: this too is off - 40% on $73,200 is $43,920; on $72,000.00 is $43,200). The ...


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