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ROBERT METZNER ET AL. v. STATE NEW YORK (12/17/68)
COURT OF CLAIMS OF NEW YORK
Claim Nos. 45797, 45798, 45939, 45940
1968.NY.43967 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 300 N.Y.S.2d 65; 59 Misc. 2d 603
December 17, 1968
ROBERT METZNER ET AL., CLAIMANTS,v.STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT. (CLAIM NO. 45797.); ARMORY GARAGE, INC., CLAIMANT, V. STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT. (CLAIM NO. 45798.); ARMORY GARAGE, INC., CLAIMANT, V. STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT. (CLAIM NO. 45939.); ROBERT METZNER ET AL., CLAIMANTS, V. STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT. (CLAIM NO. 45940.)
Medwin, Couch & McMahon (Nathan Medwin and Gerald Weinberg of counsel), for claimants.
Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney-General (Lawrence Wayne of counsel), for defendant.
Alexander Del Giorno, J.
Author: Del Giorno
These are four claims for the appropriation of claimants' lands, two by Metzner and two by Armory Garage:
1. Claim No. 45797, Metzner. Pursuant to section 30 of the Highway Law, in a proceeding described as Interstate Route Connection 541-1-1, Interstate Route 502 to Interstate Route 540, Map 4, Parcel 4 = 4.388 acres.
2. Claim No. 45940, Metzner. Pursuant to sections 307 and 355 of the Education Law, Map 17, Parcel 1, for an addition to the State University Campus = 4.798 acres.
These two claims total 9.186 acres.
3. Claim No. 45798, Armory Garage. Pursuant to section 30 of the Highway Law, in a proceeding described as Interstate Route Connection 541-1-1, Interstate Route 502 to Interstate Route 540, Map 5, Parcel 5 = 0.94 acres.
4. Claim No. 45939, Armory Garage. Pursuant to sections 307 and 355 of the Education Law, Map 19, Section 1, for an addition to the State University Campus = 29.573 acres.
These two claims total 30.513 acres.
Lands in Claims Nos. 1 and 3 were appropriated June 17, 1965, and lands in Claims Nos. 2 and 4 were appropriated July 20, 1965 by the filing of requisite maps in the office of the Clerk of the County of Albany. The parties stipulated, however, that interest in all claims shall be awarded from June 17, 1965.
The above appropriations comprised all of the claimants' lands so that only direct damages are involved.
Both lands were vacant and unimproved, with brush and second growth trees thereon. The Metzner property was roughly triangular, with the base on the south side of Washington Avenue. The Washington Avenue frontage was 739 feet; the westerly side extending southerly along the easterly boundary of Fuller Road was 986 feet long; the easterly line which ran parallel to the westerly line of the Armory Garage land extended southerly 911 feet and the southerly line of the truncated triangle connecting the easterly and westerly lines of the Metzner land was 183 feet long. The Fuller Road frontage, for 617 feet south of Washington Avenue was without access as a result of a previous State appropriation in 1961, while the remaining 369 feet had access on Fuller Road. The Armory Garage land was almost rectangular, with a frontage of 821 feet on Washington Avenue. It extended southerly to the rear some 1,700 feet.
All experts agreed, and the court fully concurs, that these lands are uniquely located in perhaps the best commercial area of Albany County. Although these lands were zoned residential, all the experts agreed that the highest and best use of the lands should be on a commercial basis, described as adaptable for such use as motel, office buildings, theatre, apartment buildings, bank, restaurant, gas station, meeting hall, etc.
It is well to explore here the probability of the change of zoning and time, effort and probable cost which might be required to achieve such change.
Mr. Andrew Vredenburgh, the State's appraiser, states on pages 15 and 16 of his appraisal:
"This property, for many years, has been zoned for residential use. The construction of the New York State Thruway in 1953 and the location of Interchange #24, 0.9 miles to the west of the subject property, and later the construction of the Northway and more recently the State Building Site Campus and the University Campus have produced environmental factors that tend to create a climate more conducive to commercial development than residential use.
"The shift to a commercial potential results in strong pressure for changing the zoning from residential to commercial.
"Precedent for such a change in the area has already been established by the rezoning in 1955 of what is now the Thruway Motel location. The reasonable probability of further zoning changes has been recognized in decisions rendered by the courts in the following cases: (Albany Country Club v. The State of New York 37 misc. Second 134, Mod. 19 AD, Second 199, Affd. 13 New York, Second 1085); (City of Albany v. State of New York, 16 AD, Second 1-63) and (Joseph Mastroiene, et al v. State of New York, Claim No. 40009 and 42053)." and in State's Exhibit C, p. 5 (Armory Garage), Mr. Vrendenburgh stated:
"The problem in preparing this appraisal requires an estimated value for vacant land, zoned residential, but, with ...