OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 12, 1986
RICHARD SAUNDERS, D/B/A RICK'S USED CARS
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
John R. Mitchell, Attorney at Law, for claimant.
Andrew Lopez, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
The claimant alleges that respondent constructed a ditchline
in front of claimant's
property, which has made it impossible for claimant to utilize his
property. As a result, the
claimant seeks $20,000.00.
The claimant has operated a used car lot on his property along U.
119 in the area of Falling
Rock since 1968. He testified that the area in front of his
excavated for a ditchline
in 1979 and in 1984, respectively. The claimant requested that
respondent place a drain in the
ditchline, but the drain has not been placed.
There is a house on the property which doubled as the office for
claimant's business and
had an upstairs apartment which was rented. Since the excavation
ditch, the claimant has
been unable to rent the apartment. Furthermore, the location of the
ditch prevents parking and
access to the business. The claimant testified that "approximately
or 500 feet on up the road
would be the closest place that you could get off the road anywhere
through there." The claimant
has ceased using the property for all purposes. Although the
stated that the used car
business was a profitable one, he could not estimate the number of
sold per year. The
claimant confirmed the fact that he did receive correspondence in March
1977 from the
Department of Motor Vehicles, which agency licenses used car lots.
letter stated that
claimant's lot was extremely run down and there did not seem to be
conducted from the lot.
William Jerald Reese, a qualified appraiser of real estate in
County, stated that the
property in question, at present, has no value. Mr. Reese's reasons
this evaluation are that it
is impossible to get into the property, and there is no parking
the highway in front of the
business due to the ditchline.
Leslie A. Putillion, an excavation contractor, testified that the
of placing a culvert at this
site would be approximately $6,870.00. Mr. Putillion could not
the Court with the
specific requirements respondent has with reference to constructing
entrances and exits to State
Nelson L. Fowler, Assistant District Maintenance Engineer for
respondent,, testified that he is
familiar with the location in question. The drainage ditch measures
approximately 8-10 inches
deep from roadway elevation and perhaps 14-16 inches deep from the
existing ground elevation.
It is approximately 100-150 feet long. Mr. Fowler spoke with the
claimant on three separate
occasions. He advised the claimant of the requirements for approach
permits, providing the
necessary information and forms for the permit. A verbal proposal
concerning the ditchline was
unacceptable to the respondent and was rejected. A written proposal
The record in this claim fails to establish that claimant's
no longer usable. The
ditchline was necessary to remedy drainage of the State highway in
of claimant's property.
The claimant has made no effort to submit proposals to respondent
that a mutually agreeable
solution can be found to provide access to the property. For these
reasons, the Court is of the
opinion to, and does, deny this claim.