In many instances, landowners suffer economic loss between the announcement of a public improvement where private land will be acquired and the actual condemnation of that land. A good example of this "planning blight" can be seen in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the Northeast Radial will be built. The initial study for the Northeast Radial was begun in the 1950s, and actual acquisition of the property began in 1968. Acquisition for the Radial has been proceeding quite rapidly, with construction to begin, tentatively, in the target area in the summer of 1972. With the enactment of LB1904 in the 1971 session of the Nebraska Legislature, acquisition has almost come to a complete standstill, more than likely delaying the construction for a longer period of time. This law provides relocation payments for persons displaced due to land acquisition by a governmental subdivision of the state. Although LB190 will help to alleviate some of the problems that residents in the Northeast Radial area may have, under the existing Nebraska Statutes there is still no compensation for the depreciation of land value that occurs between the time of the announcement of the proposed improvement and the actual date of condemnation. This comment explains the problem in detail: It describes what some state courts, other than Nebraska's, have done to ease the problem; it shows what the Nebraska Supreme Court has said in regard to "just compensation for land owners"; and it demonstrates the procedures adopted by some state legislatures to aid the landowner. This should show a trend across the nation to compensate landowners for this depreciation, and it may point the way Nebraska will be traveling in the future.
Depreciation Damages: A Condemnor’s Windfall,
51 Neb. L. Rev. 147
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