Del. Supreme Court dismisses land condemnation

The state Supreme Court says Delaware transportation officials violated property acquisition laws in condemning a Middletown couple's land for the Route 301 highway project.

The court dismissed the condemnation action Monday, saying DelDOT relied on a flawed appraisal in paying $133,000 for 1.5 acres of a larger 10-acre plot owned by Jack and Mary Ann Lawson.

The justices agreed with the Lawsons that the state failed to acknowledge that taking the parcel and building a narrow replacement driveway for the couple over a stormwater retention pond would limit their ability to commercially develop their remaining land.

A DelDOT appraiser valued the Lawson's property at $550,000 before the planned acquisition.

DelDOT says it is reviewing the decision and will take appropriate steps to complete the purchase of the parcel in question.

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