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Court rules proximity to sports center not an inverse taking.

Construction of a convention center near a property owner's residential property and construction of a boulevard on land adjacent to the owner's property did not constitute a de facto or actual taking of the owner's property according to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Pepper Genter owns a single-family residence in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, where she has resided for over 22 years. Twenty-two years ago the area was a low-density residential area surrounded by woods and wetlands. The Blair County Convention & Sports Facilities Authority (Authority) constructed a convention center close to the Genter property. To accommodate the facility, its parking lots, and the access roads, the Authority acquired land next to an existing commercial development, but the Genter property was not acquired by condemnation. Genter filed a petition for inverse condemnation alleging that there was a de facto taking of her property as a result of construction of the center and a boulevard. The Authority filed an objection to the petition but was overruled by the trial court. The Authority appealed.

On appeal, the Authority argued that there had been no inverse condemnation of Genter's property. The appellate court said that merely having a house that is somewhat less desirable to live in does not constitute the type of exceptional circumstance needed to prove a de facto taking of an entire residential property. Here, the court said, it was indisputable that the highest and best use of Genter's property was as a residence. "There was no evidence that Genter has lost the use of the property as a residence," the court said. Thus, the court concluded that the Authority could not be held liable for a condemnation of Genter's property.

Genter v. Authority

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

August 14, 2002

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Title Annotation:cases in brief
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2PA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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