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FERREE v. NEW YORK STATE NATURAL GAS CORPORATION (04/18/60)

April 18, 1960

FERREE
v.
NEW YORK STATE NATURAL GAS CORPORATION, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 80, March T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, April T., 1955, No. 196, in case of Mac Ferree v. New York State Natural Gas Corporation. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

E. P. Herrington, Jr., with him Fred B. Trescher, and Kunkle and Trescher, for appellant.

Joseph M. Loughran, with him John K. Best, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and McBRIDE, JJ.

Author: Bok

[ 399 Pa. Page 189]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.

The high pressure transmission gas pipe dealt with in the preceding case, Gilleland v. New York State Natural Gas Corporation, 399 Pa. 181 (1960), 159 A.2d

[ 399 Pa. Page 190673]

, continues into this one. It enters plaintiff's property at the point where it left Gilleland's and with two slight changes of course traverses plaintiff's land for 1114 feet from almost due west to east, dividing it into two parts of twenty-eight and seven acres, the larger part lying to the north.

Plaintiff bought his land in 1940 for development purposes, and it has not been farmed since 1950. He has laid out no plan for lots except "in my mind". The evidence of his witnesses shows that the engineer for the Lincoln Heights development has done "some preliminary work" on the Zannarini property, which lies partly across the road from plaintiff's land and between it and Lincoln Heights. Zannarini testified that "we expect to use it for land development" and that he has "had offers".

Plaintiff and his witnesses ranged from $6000 to $10,000 for the difference in market value before and after the taking, and defendant's from $1300 to $1500. The Board of View awarded $5000 and the jury $6000. Defendant appealed.

Our conclusion in Gilleland that similar evidence of land development was remote and speculative also governs here. The testimony to support an inevitable development in the area is vague, unfounded, and casual. The idea that the neighborhood may one day become popular for small homesites is not the criterion, since what counts is the state of the property at the time of taking, and the ...


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