Assemblage and Plottage in Eminent Domain

For those of you following our blog, you’re familiar with our series on eminent domain damages that benefit the property owner by allowing them to receive additional just compensation for their loss.  Several of our earlier topics include highest and best use and the before and after rule.

Another issue I’d like to address when determining damages is the concept of assemblage, which is also called plottage.  The concept is relatively simple.  Assume you have a smaller lot, but you’re situated on a block where there is a high likelihood of redevelopment, and the development that will likely occur in the area would require the assemblage or joining together of more then one lot.  You can imagine how limiting a small lot can be in terms of development; a developer would only be willing to pay a certain amount of money if there is no opportunity for larger scale development on the parcel.  However, if your land can be assembled and incorporated with other adjoining lots to create a larger parcel, then all of the land within the assemblage is more valuable.  The properties are now more valuable on a per square foot basis or a per acre basis because the development created on these joined properties is a more valuable use and the developer who would buy this property is willing to pay more on a per square foot basis for your lot then he or she would if that lot was being sold all by itself.

If the concept of assemblage or joining together of lots in the marketplace at your location is very real and is very likely to occur, then that concept can be incorporated into determining your damages.  If a condemning authority does not incorporate this into their analysis, then this would trigger your right to file a claim for additional just compensation.

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