Condemnor’s $820,000 Offer Settles for $3,200,000

         The New Jersey eminent domain blog of the law firm of McKirdy & Riskin informs us that the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority agreed to pay $3,200,000 for a 35-acre tract of land in Roxbury, Wharton and Jefferson townships, formerly owned by Farley Waterworks, LLC, which the MUA had condemned in 2003 for the specific purpose of using the property’s groundwater to supply drinking water to its customers.  

          The MUA’s initial offer was $820,000, based upon the land’s potential to be developed with a warehouse, and did not take into consideration the value of the property’s groundwater resources despite the fact that the taking was for water supply, and the property lay on top of an aquifer in which  more than 1.2 million gallons per day of potable water flowed beneath the property’s surface.

           The MUA had applied for a court ruling preventing the property from being valued for its water resource, but Morris County Superior Court Assignment Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis denied that application in late 2008.