Landowners Beware: Project Influence Not Justification for Lower Property Value

The term “project influence” refers to the affects, either positive or negative, of an impending project on property value for those parcels affected.  On one hand, landowners could possibly use this theory to their advantage, making an argument that the area will be more developed and thus lead to increased property values once the project is finished.  On the other hand, the condemning authority could potentially take advantage of any negative affects on property value brought about by knowledge of the impending takings.  The latter situation is something that every landowner should be aware of and attempt to avoid.

The good thing is that landowners have a strong weapon in their corner in this fight.  The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that, “[N]either an increase nor a decrease in the market value of the property sought to be taken, which is brought about by the same project for which the property is being taken, may be considered in determining the value of the property.” State v. Sovich, 253 Ind. 224 (1969)

An important distinction to make is that the rule only applies to the affects on property value caused by the project for which the property is being taken.  For example, consider a parcel of land.  The parcel is being taken in relation to a road project called project A.  At the same time, a separate project, project B, is building a park nearby.  The effects on the parcel’s value caused by project A cannot be considered.  However, the effects on the parcel’s value caused by project B may be considered because it is a separate project.

The major implication here is that the value of a property being taken should be determined as if the project responsible for the taking did not exist at all.  The difficulty lies in determining if there has been any project influence at play in a given situation.  The affects are not always obvious.  So landowners beware.  Do not accept less than your property is worth.  

For more information or if you are involved in your own eminent domain dispute contact our office at any time at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at