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Public Service Electric and Gas Co. v. Oldwick Farms Inc.

Decided: July 18, 1973.

PUBLIC SERVICE ELECTRIC AND GAS COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
OLDWICK FARMS, INC., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



Kolovsky, Matthews and Crahay.

Per Curiam

By its amended complaint plaintiff sought to acquire, by condemnation, "an easement to facilitate the overhead passage and maintenance of [overhead electric] transmission lines across * * * and the right to build any temporary facilities reasonably necessary for the construction and placement of said overhead lines as a right-of-way upon, over, under, across, and along" two parcels of land which are part of the 128.73-acre tract (exclusive of the public right-of-way), owned by defendant in Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County.

The 128.73-acre tract, on which there is presently a dwelling house and farm buildings, is located on the west side of Hunterdon County Route 517 (Oldwick-Fairmount Road) in Oldwick. Defendant's title includes the land to the center of that roadway, subject however to the public easement for the use of the road.

The controlling zoning ordinance permits the use of the property for agricultural purposes and for one-family residences, with a minimum lot size of three acres. Although the land is now in farm use and has not been subdivided, it is agreed that the highest and best use is residential with a minimum lot size of three acres.

The two parcels to be subjected to the easement each front on Route 517. One has an area of 0.002 acres, the other an area of 0.502 acres.

The easement acquired is presently used so that transmission lines pass over the two last-mentioned parcels. Although no towers are constructed on defendant's property, at least three large towers have been erected on lands near defendant's land which permit electric transmission cables and shield wires to cross over defendant's land and to run parallel to and close to a long stretch of defendant's remaining frontage along Route 517.

After hearing testimony the commissioners, limiting their considerations to the easement taken and the damage to defendant's remaining lands resulting from the taking of the easement, awarded defendant the sum of $2,250.

Prior to the trial of the appeal, defendant applied to the court for

The court ordered that:

the effect of the plaintiff-respondent's entire project upon the remainder lands of the defendant-appellant is to be considered in order to determine the amount of the depreciation in the value of the remaining land of the defendant * * *.

Plaintiff sought leave to appeal from that order. We denied leave but directed that

At trial, the "consequential damages" awarded defendant and representing the effect of plaintiff's entire project upon the remainder lands of the defendant are to be computed separately so that they ...


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