N.J. Eminent Domain: Determining Fair Market Value | Shapiro Croland
The Constitutions of both the United States and New Jersey provide that private property shall not "be taken for public use, without just compensation." In its recent decision in Saddle River v. 66 East Allendale LLC, the N.J. Supreme Court issued an opinion that will have a significant impact on the way in which courts determine just compensation in this state. When the state or one of its municipalities takes private property, New Jersey's law of eminent domain requires that just compensation, or the fair market value of the property as of the date of taking, be paid to the property owner. Fair market value under New Jersey law is determined by the price to which a willing and knowledgeable buyer and willing and knowledgeable seller would agree, neither being under any compulsion to act. When considering the question of fair market value, the property's "highest and best use" or the use that produces the highest value—provided it can be legally and physically achieved—is taken into