City of Tucson v. Tanno – 10/10/2018

November 12, 2018

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two holds that, under the project influence doctrine, property owners in eminent domain cases may only present evidence of the effect of the project for which the property is condemned on the value of their property.

The City of Tucson sought to condemn a piece of property owned for the construction of a road to be used in connection with a city-approved development project.  The property owner requested a determination of value for just compensation.  Following trial on the fair market value of the property, the owner timely appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding some of the property owner’s evidence related to the value of the property.

The Court of Appeals affirmed.  The Court held that the trial court property excluded evidence related to an earlier development project under the “project influence doctrine.”  The “project influence doctrine” essentially prevents the homeowner from being harmed by a decrease or benefitted by an increase in value attributable to a government project.  Property owners are entitled to recover damages from a decrease in value caused by the project for which their property is condemned.  The property owners, however, sought to introduce evidence that their property value had been harmed by a different older project initiated in the 1980s.  Although the property owners contended that the older project was related to the new project, the Court affirmed the exclusion of this evidence, concluding that the projects were separate and distinct and that any decrease in value caused by the older project would not be attributable to the new project. 

Judge Eppich authored the opinion; Judges Vasquez and Espinosa joined.