Expert testimony & litigation support
Incomplete Conditional Use Application Case
The new owner of a large poultry operation filed a conditional use application to re-establish the property's intensive agricultural operation. The previous owner had a history of air and water violations and was eventually shut down. Neighbors were concerned and wanted the new owner to follow all required codes and regulations.
Nave Newell reviewed the conditional use application, plans and local municipal ordinances in support of the attorney’s expert report. Testimony was provided before the Board of Supervisors in the plaintiff’s case against the incomplete conditional use application. The application was deemed incomplete and the owner later withdrew his application.
Breach of Contract Case
Following the denial of their application by the Board of Supervisors, a developer questioned if their engineer had prepared adequate plans. Nave Newell was retained by the developer to review the engineer’s plans and prepare a plan compliant with municipal requirements to determine whether or not the engineer breached their contract.
Following the review, Nave Newell provided expert testimony in court that the engineer did not perform services in the best interest of the client. The case was settled in favor of the developer.
Fair Market Value Condemnation Case
A Pennsylvania school district condemned a property and offered the owner fair market value. The owner appealed the offer and the matter was taken to the Commonwealth Court. On the appeal, Nave Newell was retained by the school district to determine the developability of the property, prior to its condemnation. Nave Newell reviewed local ordinances and consulted with an attorney and local township officials. An expert report including three sketch plans was prepared and used by the appraiser to estimate market value and just compensation to be paid to the owner. Following expert testimony, the jury awarded in favor of the school district.
Eminent Domain Evaluation Case
A Pennsylvania township acquired a property through eminent domain for necessary roadway relocation, widening and stormwater management improvements. The owner was paid just compensation, but sought additional compensation based on an appraisal which stated that the property’s highest and best use is a branch bank pad.
Nave Newell was retained by the township to assess and validate the highest and best yield of the condemned property. We reviewed the township ordinances, comprehensive plan and conceptual plan to identify ordinance and construction feasibility issues. Nave Newell provided expert testimony to the Board of View and prepared reports to determine that the highest and best use stated by the condemnee’s appraiser is not feasible and would be undesirable due to site limitations and zoning/land development restrictions. The Board of View ruled in favor of the township.
Conditional Use and Constitutional Rights Case
A religious sect filed a conditional use application with the township to construct a new building and improvements on their existing site. The township permitted their continued religious use of the site, but limited the extent of future improvements. The religious organization then filed suit alleging the conditional use decision violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights, as well as rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
Nave Newell was retained by the township to review the conditional use application, related documentation and testimony from the Zoning Hearing Board and conditional use decision to identify inconsistencies and admission that the organization had knowledge of existing property development restrictions. Eventually the township and religious organization reached a settlement. The sect withdrew their lawsuit and the township investigated rewriting the zoning ordinance. They now have the option to go through the conditional use process again.