JON D. LUCKSTEAD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica
Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.
property owner appeals the district court judgment on the
compensability of access and the appraisement of damages.
Kelly Keady of Biersdorf & Associates, P.C., Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for appellant.
Reddick and Todd L. Stevenson of Kane, Norby & Reddick,
P.C., Dubuque, for appellee.
by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Luckstead appeals the district court judgment finding no
compensable taking occurred due to the Iowa Department of
Transportation's (DOT) relocation of the access point to
Luckstead's property and finding as proper the
compensation awarded by the Dubuque County Compensation
Commission for two parcels of land. We affirm.
Background Facts & Proceedings
1972, Luckstead purchased property just south of Dubuque,
where he developed the Tamarack Business Park. The business
park, zoned for light industrial use, is located on the west
side of U.S. Highway 151/61. The property is only ten to
twenty percent developed. Luckstead owns lots in the business
park and surrounding land that is used for farming. A
frontage road running parallel to the highway along the
length of the park has direct access to both northbound and
southbound traffic on the highway via Tamarack Drive. The
at-grade access was a result of a revocable license granted
to a predecessor owner by the Iowa State Highway Commission
(ISHC). As part of the license, the ISHC reserved the right
"to remove or relocate the special public road
early 2000s, the DOT began to plan and acquire land to build
a southwest arterial road, which would provide an alternate,
controlled-access route along the south side of Dubuque from
U.S. Highway 20 to Highway 151/61. The project also upgrades
Highway 151/61 between the southwest arterial road and the
interchange of Highways 151 and 61 to a primary highway with
controlled access; permanent access will only be allowed at
interchange locations, eliminating the at-grade access
points. The interchange between the arterial road
and Highway 151/61 will be directly north of Luckstead's
property. The current frontage road will be extended north to
provide access via the southwest arterial road at the highway
interchange, and the current at-grade access point for the
business park from Highway 151/61 will be condemned. The
design plans, finalized in 2009, incorporated changes
suggested by Luckstead, shifting the designed frontage road
connection location and the road's alignment to lessen
impact on Luckstead's property.
2015, pursuant to Iowa Code "Chapters 28E, 306, 306A,
306B, 306C, 313, 6a, and 6B [(2015)]," the DOT acted to
condemn the access point and acquire title to land for
purposes of relocating the Tamarack Business Park's
access via an extension of the existing frontage road to the
planned arterial interchange. The acquired land was part of
two adjacent parcels owned by Luckstead-Parcel 184 and Parcel
187. The Parcel 184 acquisition included fee title to just
over four-tenths of an acre and a temporary easement to
almost three-quarters of an acre. A "remnant" half
acre that contains the Tamarack Business Park sign remains
between the frontage road extension and the
Parcel 187-acquired land currently is used primarily as
farmland and holds three billboards, a barn, and a garage
near the highway. The Parcel 187 acquisition included fee
title to six and one-third acres and a temporary construction
easement to two-tenths of an acre. The land acquired runs
through the middle of the parcel, leaving six and
three-fourths acres between the frontage road and the highway
and one and two-thirds acres on the west side of the frontage
road. The billboards, barn, and garage remain undisturbed.
The frontage road will provide access to both sides of Parcel
187 and connects to the existing frontage road in Parcel 184.
to statute, a compensation commission was convened to
appraise the damages from the condemnation; the commission
consisted of two real estate sales persons or brokers, two
agricultural owner-operators, and two persons with knowledge
of county property values by virtue of their occupation.
See Iowa Code § 6B.4(2). The compensation
commission valued the damages from the takings based on a
2013 appraisal by Fred Lock of Iowa Appraisal and Research.
Due to the age of the appraisal, the compensation commission
then increased the amount offered to $45, 000 for Parcel 184
and $217, 954 for Parcel 187, for a total compensation of
$262, 954. Luckstead appealed both appraisals to the district
court, claiming $90, 000 in damages for Parcel 184 and $500,
000 for Parcel 187. The DOT hired appraisers Lock and Brian
Linnemeyer of Agroval to evaluate the value lost, and both
estimated the 2015 lost value at $38, 860 for Parcel 184 and
$224, 364 for Parcel 187, for a total of $263, 224. The DOT
appraisals valued the land as agricultural-its use at the
time of the taking.
hired appraiser David Reach of The Valuation Group to
evaluate the property, and he valued the damages at $35, 300
and $288, 300 respectively, for a total of $323, 600.
Reach's valuation appraised the land as industrial
development, which the land was also zoned for. Reach also
calculated damages related to the change in access point,
estimating $319, 700 for Parcel 184 and $168, 600 for Parcel
187. Reach estimated an additional $618, 600 in access
damages for the three tenants and two vacant lots within
Parcel 184 not otherwise ...