Calvert v. City of Denton

In Calvert v. City of Denton, 375 S.W.2d 522 (Tex. Civ. App.--Fort Worth 1964, writ ref'd n.r.e.), the landowners owned a lot which the City of Denton partially condemned to obtain an easement. The landowners also owned four contiguous lots of which the city did not condemn any part. Id. The issue that we resolved concerned whether remainder damages would be based on the loss of market value on the one partially condemned lot or also on the four uncondemned lots, which could have been combined with the condemned lot to develop a shopping center. Id. at 523-24. In holding that the trial court had erred by limiting remainder damages only to the lot subject to condemnation, we explained in part: Value may reflect not only the use to which the property is presently devoted but also to that use to which it may readily be converted. The record in this case reflects no legal impediments which would prevent the appellants from . . . clearing the property for conversion to use as a shopping center or other business purpose. . . . . . . . In 225 S.W.2d 997, 998 (Tex. Civ. App.--Texarkana 1949), writ dism'd, 148 Tex. 604, 227 S.W.2d 1022 (1950). . . the court held: 'There seems to be no question but that appellees are entitled to the highest value for which the property is adaptable.' . . . . It would appear illogical to say that because four of the lots are occupied by single family houses rented to separate tenants and the fifth lot is devoted to a business use that they should not be treated as a single unit. Such a holding would be in violent conflict with the general rule that compensation to the owner is to be estimated by reference to its highest and best use and not necessarily to its use at the time of condemnation. . . . . It is agreed that only by treating the five lots in question as a single tract can the property be devoted to its highest and best use and that treated as such it has sustained damages in addition to those allowed. (Id. at 525-27.)