Expert Testimony to the Value of Vacant Land Based on the Projected Income
In New Jersey, "a court will not permit an expert to testify to the value of vacant land based on the projected income which could be earned from the operation of a building which might be erected thereon, because such a valuation is too speculative." State v. F & J Partnership, 250 N.J.Super. 19, 26, 593 A.2d 352 (App.Div.1991) (citing State v. Mehlman, 118 N.J.Super. 587, 592, 289 A.2d 539 (App.Div.1972); Port of N.Y. Auth. v. Howell, 68 N.J.Super. 559, 568-69, 173 A.2d 310 (App.Div.), certif. denied, 36 N.J. 144, 174 A.2d 927 (1961), overruled on other grounds, Housing Auth. of Newark v. Norfolk Realty Co., 71 N.J. 314, 364 A.2d 1052 (1976)).
While ordinarily it is the landowner who attempts to offer such proof to maximize the value of the condemned property, here the testimony was being offered by the plaintiff-condemnor in an effort to prove that one of the permitted uses in the zone would probably not be pursued by the hypothetical willing buyer because it would not be economically productive.
Such testimony has the same infirmities when offered by the condemnor to lower value as it does when it is offered by the condemnee.