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4791making noise

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  • Jurydoctor@aol.com
    Jul 1, 2003
      > Going to trial soon I need your feedback ASAP.. Please..
      > thanks,
      > Amy
      > This case involves the partial taking of land by the NCDOT for the widening
      > of I-85 in
      > >Durham, North Carolina
      > >
      > >Before: The property consists of about 4 acres and is improved with a 72
      > >unit apartment complex known as Forest Pointe Apartments. It was built in
      > 1985
      > >and has four 3-story buildings each with 18 one bedroom apartments (6 units
      > >per floor). All the apartments are one bedroom. Owner has owned the
      > complex
      > >since 1995. At the time he purchased the apartments he did not know about
      > the
      > >road widening. There was a 40-60 foot wide thick buffer of mature trees
      > >between the apartments’ parking lot and I-85. The buildings were around 130
      > ’
      > >-150’ from the existing right of way for I-85. Some of the trees were on
      > the DOT
      > >’s existing right of way and some were on the Fortune Bay land. The
      > >apartments are garden style apartments with balconies approximately 12’x12’
      > in size.
      > > The setting was , kind of a leafy glade. I will try to e-mail you a
      > couple
      > >of photos. The grounds were well maintained. There was a gazebo, but no
      > >pool or clubhouse. The apartments rent for between $490 and $535 depending
      > on
      > >size, which rent is below market. The owner has kept the rents below
      > market
      > >to help prevent turnover and keep his vacancy rate low. From the time he
      > >bought the apartments in 1985 until construction began in 2001 the
      > apartments
      > >were consistently 98% or more occupied. They never had to give any rent
      > >incentives to entice renters. The property is next door to a shopping mall
      > and is
      > >adjacent to modest housing and some low income housing. Crime is not a
      > >problem. They are conveniently located, near the Major Hospital complex,
      > etc. The
      > >tenants are mainly white collar workers and graduate students. It was
      > >somewhat noisy, but not offensive and you could not see the traffic from
      > the
      > >apartments thanks to the tree buffer.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >After:
      > The taking consists of 2/10 of an acre, a strip approximately 8-22 feet
      > wide. As part of
      > >the talking the thick tree buffer has been removed. Oner planted some fast
      > >growing Leyland Cypress trees, but they do little to shield the property
      > from
      > >the view and sound of the traffic. He can’t really do more until the
      > >construction is completed. The occupancy rate fell to around 90% and they
      > have had
      > >to offer 2 months free rent as an incentive to get the occupancy back up.
      > >The DOT has built a 25 foot high brick noise wall for the houses next to
      > >Forest Pointe. The wall stops right at the Forest Pointe property
      > boundary. The
      > >DOT has also built an even higher noise wall (due to the bank) for the
      > houses
      > >and apartments directly across the highway. DOT will not build a noise
      > wall
      > >for Forest Pointe. The removal of the tree buffer and the erection of the
      > >sound wall across I-85 and next door have made it noisier at Forest Pointe.
      > >The DOT did not take either of these factors into consideration in
      > determining
      > >whether to build a wall behind the apartments. The DOT states that the
      > >apartments don’t qualify for a noise wall because the apartments don’t
      > have
      > >significant outdoor activity, i.e. a pool. Because they don’t have
      > significant
      > >outdoor activity, they DOT uses internal noise levels, instead of exterior
      > noise
      > >levels. If they had used exterior noise levels the apartments would in all
      > >likelihood qualify for a noise wall. The apartments across I-85 are getting
      > a
      > >wall apparently because one of the buildings is only 30 feet or so from the
      > >new right of way and qualifies under the interior level. All other
      > adjacent
      > >states would have used exterior noise levels for garden style apartments.
      > >
      > >A local brick mason has estimated that it would cost $500,000 to build a
      > >similar noise wall across the Forest Pointe Apartments I-85 frontage. If
      > the
      > >wall were built you could not see the traffic. It wouldn’t be as nice as
      > the
      > >trees. Our appraiser estimates the damage at $800,000 based on a 1% change
      > in
      > >occupancy and using a slightly higher capitalization rate in the after
      > under
      > >the theory that the property is less marketable and less desirable. (The
      > >appraiser estimates that installing a thick buffer of Leyland Cypress would
      > cost
      > >$105,000, which is included in his damage figure.) The DOT estimates the
      > >damages to be $175,000 or so. their experts opine that the increased
      > vacancy
      > >is due to a downturn in the economy, that the taking is small, that the
      > >property was already next to I-85 and that at least half of the trees were
      > on their
      > >existing land.
      > >
      > >

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