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UNITED STATES v. 1

August 31, 1951

UNITED STATES
v.
1,096.84 ACRES IN MARION COUNTY, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, District Judge.

The Declaration of Taking was filed February 23, 1951, under authority of the various Acts of Congress cited in said declaration.

The declaration of the Secretary of the Army, inter alia, alleges: "The public uses for which said lands are taken are as follows: the said lands are necessary adequately to provide for the construction and operation of a flood-control dam and reservoir. The said lands have been selected by me for acquisition by the United states for use in connection with the establishment of the Bull Shoals dam and reservoir and for such other uses as may be authorized by Congress or by executive order."

Attached to the declaration were segment maps showing the lands to be taken and the sum estimated as just compensation.

The defendant, Nora Mitchell Eckles, is the owner of one of the tracts so designated, which tract is described as follows: "Tract M-1207-N½ N½ SE¼ Frl.NE¼ Sec. 9, Twp. 21, North, Range 17 West, in Marion County, Arkansas, containing 10 acres."

A judgment by default fixing just compensation was entered, but upon the statement of the attorney for the landowner that the landowner desired to resist the right of the Government to acquire her land or a portion of it, the judgment was set aside and the landowner was permitted to file objections to the taking of the land by the Government. The objections were filed in the form of "First Amended Answer" and alleges that she had been advised by the Chief of the Real Estate Division, Corps of Engineers, United States Army, that a small portion of the tract lies above the maximum elevation subject to inundation, and she alleged that for that reason the portion lying above the maximum elevation should be eliminated from the taking.

A hearing on the contention of the landowner was held on August 28, at which testimony was heard, and the court, having considered the record, the testimony and exhibits thereto, now makes and files herein its findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated.

Findings of Fact

1

The defendant, Nora Mitchell Eckles, lives near Portland, Missouri, and is the owner of Tract No. M-1207, hereinbefore specifically described in the statement.

The tract is 1320 feet long East and West and 330 feet wide North and South. The East portion of the tract lies below the 654 foot level and all of the tract except approximately 4 acres lies below the 700 foot level. Land lying above the elevation of 700 feet will not be subject to inundation, so it appears that all of the land will be inundated except approximately 4 acres lying in the West end of the tract.

State Highway 125 runs in a Northerly and Southerly direction and within 240 feet of the West line of the tract. The tract of land does not adjoin the highway and the land between the tract and the highway is owned by another individual.

The land on the South, East and Northeast of the tract lies within the reservoir area and has been or will be acquired by the Government and inundated. The land immediately North of the West portion of the tract has not been acquired by the Government nor has the land that lies immediately West of the tract between the West line and the highway been acquired by the Government, but is owned by individuals and the contour lines are so situated as to not make it necessary that the Government acquire those particular tracts.

The defendant has owned the land for approximately 15 years and testified that she had purchased it for the purpose of building thereon a home, but there are no improvements on any portion of the tract, and some of the tract has heretofore been used by adjoining landowners.

The landowner further testified that she had not and did not intend to ask the Government to build a road from Highway 125 to the tract; that she formerly owned an easement or right-of-way from her land ...


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