City of Hildale v. Cooke

Utah Supreme Court
2001 UT 56; 28 P.3d 697

Just compensation means that the owners must be put in as good a position financially as they would have occupied had their property not been taken.

The measure of damages in a condemnation case is based on the market value of the property. The value is not related to how much the property would be expected to produce in the future, but how much a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller.

The value of the property is based on the highest and best use the property could be used for at the time of the taking, even if that use had not actually been undertaken.

The highest and best use reflects the most productive or valuable use feasibly possible. It does not include speculative or conjectural uses.

Establishing a uses feasibility involves three elements: (1) If the use is physically feasible on the property; (2) if the use is legally feasible on the property; and (3) if the use is economically feasible.

A property owner may testify on the feasibility of a use, but establishing the feasibility requires testimony from a qualified expert.

Full Text of City of Hildale v. Cooke