I/M/O Revocation of Access of Block #697, Lot #19, Borough of Paramus

OAL Docket No. TRP 9450-97 (Department of Transportation 1998)
  • Opinion Date: June 2, 1998

CONDEMNATION; ACCESS—The Department of Transportation can eliminate access to private property without any obligation to replace the eliminated accessways if the private property is still left with adequate access.

A property owner appealed a Department of Transportation (DOT) decision to revoke access that led from a major state highway to the property owners property. The DOT was undertaking a major reconstruction project involving substantial improvements in the area of a nearby intersection with another major state highway. As a result, the DOT set about to eliminate driveways that did not conform with provisions of the State Highway Access Management Code. In this case, the DOT condemned two access roads that led onto the complainant’s property. The property owner claimed that the DOT’s decision was improper, as cars would only have had access to 18 parking spaces instead of to the 47 that would have normally been available. The property owner also argued that there would be congestion problems and possible safety problems, claiming that State Highway Management Code required the DOT to create, add, or establish a new access road to replace what is being eliminated. The Court held that there was no obligation for the DOT to create any additional roads or alternative access if an alternative access exists. The Court found that the lone remaining access road constituted an acceptable alternative access and that the parking and circulation difficulties faced by the property owner existed prior to the closing of the two roadways.