Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon.
Simon L. Friedman, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Is evidence of "cost to cure" admissible?
Yes — but only if the cure is correlated to fair market value.
The Department of Transportation of the State of Illinois brought suit to condemn land owned by Lee and Elaine Hsueh, seeking a fee interest in 0.43 acres of defendants' 7.03-acre tract for purposes of highway construction. The Hsuehs cross-petitioned, alleging damages to their remaining property resulting from the taking. After a jury trial, a verdict awarded the Hsuehs $15,000 as damages for the property taken and $52,000 as damages to the remainder.
The Department's sole contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in allowing defendants to introduce evidence of the costs of rehabilitating the remainder.
The property is located off Route 125 west of Springfield, Illinois. Improvements on the property consist chiefly of a one-story brick house which is divided into four separate family units, two single dwellings, an asphalt parking area and an asphalt roadway which provided access to the buildings. A substantial section of the roadway lay on the property taking by the Department.
Lee Hsueh testified that, as a result of the loss of the roadway, he needed to construct a new roadway. He testified he had employed Calhoun County Construction Corporation for construction work on the parking area and roadway and had paid the corporation $14,087.48 for work performed up to the filing of the law suit. He had also paid another contractor $2,295 for the construction of a temporary roadway.
Harry Rimbey, president of Calhoun County Construction Corporation, identified exhibits of defendants which included a bill from the corporation to Hsueh in the amount of $14,087.48, and an estimate prepared by Rimbey for the construction of an alternate roadway for defendants. The total of the estimate was $46,767. Rimbey testified that remaining work included laying an asphalt surface at an estimated cost of $22,000.
James Call, defendant's appraisal witness, testified that the market value of defendant's property before the taking was $235,000 and the market value of the remainder after the taking was $170,200. He found the value of the property taken to be $12,040 and damages to the remainder to be $52,694. In evaluating the damages to the remainder, Call considered, among other things, the cost of tearing up the asphalt parking area and road, the cost of relocating water, sewer and gas lines, and the cost of installing steps and walkways among the buildings.
Charles Johnson, another appraisal witness for defendants, testified that the market value of the property before the taking was $275,000. He found the value of the property taken to be $14,000 and the damages to the remainder to be $50,000. Johnson testified that the remainder was significantly damaged by the need to restructure the traffic pattern on the property. He said there was "absolutely no question" that an alternate roadway was necessary.
The Department's first appraisal witness, Fred Tedrowski, testified that the fair market value of the property before the taking was $145,000, the value of the property taken was $6,300 and the fair market value of the remainder after the taking was $127,100. Consequently, he found the damages to the remainder to be $11,600. Tedrowski testified that in determining the damage to the remainder he considered the poor access available to and from the highway after the taking.
The Department's other appraisal witness, Wayne Briggs, testified that the fair market value of the property prior to the taking was $155,000, the value of the property taken was $12,350, and the value of the remainder after the taking was $138,150. Briggs then determined the damages to the remainder to be $4,500. Briggs testified that in evaluating the damages to the remainder ...