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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In March 1984, the City of Mansfield adopted a long-term plan for road construction. The planned widening of certain roads and a major intersection were proposed for an area that would run across land owned by John Wayne Coble. In 1997, the city adopted a resolution No. 1129, an ordinance to acquire a permanent right-of-way easement approximately on two corners of Coble’s property; the total area was estimated to be 2.42 acres of Coble’s 25.76-acre tract. The ordinance stated that if residential subdivisions were platted adjacent to the highway, a screening wall at least 6 feet tall should be built, and that specific landscaping requirements be implemented. When the parties could not agree on a value for the purchase, nearly a year later, the city exercised its power of eminent domain to condemn the property. A three-person panel appointed by the Tarrant County Court at Law No. 1 awarded Coble $46,420, but it did not award damages for any diminution of value to the remainder of Coble’s tract. The city deposited the owed amounts into a court registry and took possession of the property. Coble later withdrew the funds. He also filed formal objections to the award, invoking the jurisdiction of the district court. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Both had to do with whether the costs of constructing a perimeter screen wall and related landscaping constitute compensable damage to the remainder of his property resulting from the condemnation. Coble’s appraiser estimated the cost of the wall and landscaping to be $186,980. Though the city and Coble agreed that the highest and best use for the remainder of Coble’s property, before and after the taking, was for development of a residential subdivision, the city argued that the true future use of the property was unknown. The city argued that only a decision to develop the property, not the taking itself, triggered the ordinance’s screening wall and landscape provisions. Coble argued that the cost of constructing a screening wall and landscaping resulted from the condemnation. Without the condemnation, he would not have to build the wall and landscaping should he choose to develop the property as a subdivision. The trial court granted the city’s motion for summary judgment. Based on this decision, the trial court excluded Coble’s expert evidence on the cost of the wall and landscaping in the jury trial on the sole issue of fair price. The jury awarded an impermissible per-acre value, so the judge disregarded the findings. The parties then entered into a settlement agreement whereby the city was to pay Coble $50,820 for the 2.42 acres. Coble, however, reserved his right to appeal the summary judgment issue. HOLDING:Affirmed. Generally, when only part of landowner’s property is taken, adequate compensation must be paid for the part taken and for any severance damages to the remainder. The proper measure of compensation damages in this case is the market value of the part taken and “the difference between the market value of the remainder property immediately before the condemnation and the market value of the remainder property immediately after the condemnation, taking into consideration the nature of any improvements and the use of the land taken.” And the owner of the remainder may recover for modifications or improvements required by the condemnation “on a proper showing,” that is, one that is not “relating to remote, speculative, and conjectural uses.” Though Coble’s property was zoned single-family residential, at the time of the condemnation, Coble’s lot was vacant, unimproved and not platted for residential development. Conversely, the ordinance specifically says that the screening wall and landscape construction are required “when a residential subdivision is platted”; furthermore, the plat has to be in a certain configuration, with the side or rear yard adjacent to the highway by a certain distance (according to the original long-term plan, that would be 75 feet or greater). The court further notes that Coble is free to seek other zoning classifications for this property. “We agree with the city that Coble is seeking to recover the estimated cost of complying with an ordinance, the applicability of which had not yet been determined at the time of taking, because Coble offered no evidence that any of the prerequisites for application of the ordinance had been met or would be met in the foreseeable future, so as to require him or a purchaser to incur the costs of compliance.” Coble’s theory of damages for the remainder of his property is based on speculation and conjecture, and the trial court properly granted the city’s motion for summary judgment. Furthermore, any claim Coble may have for a regulatory takings claim is not ripe for review because there is no evidence that the city has made a final decision as to the applicability of the ordinance to the remainder of Coble’s tract; nor is there evidence that Coble has requested a variance and been denied. OPINION:Gardner, J.; Holman, Gardner and Walker, JJ.

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