What’s Highest and Best Use in Valuing Land in Partition Cases?

In this video, Landowner Attorney Philip Hundl talks about the concept of highest and best use used in valuing land in Texas partition cases. Call 800-266-4870 or text 979-320-9320 for an appointment with Philip. Meetings can be online, by phone or in person at our office in Wharton County.

What’s Highest and Best Use in Land Valuation in Texas Land Partition Cases?

Summary of Highest and Best Use in Valuing Land in Partition

Hi, I’m Philip Hundl, an attorney who specializes in land litigation, primarily representing landowners facing eminent domain condemnation cases. I also have a lot of land partition cases going on right now.

Today, I want to talk about the highest and best use of land in the context of a partition case.

Whether you’re facing condemnation or partitioning property with co-owners, such as family members, it’s important to consider the highest and best use of the land. For example, land along a busy highway that’s likely to be developed for retail or commercial purposes should not be valued as strictly agricultural or recreational land.

Another important consideration is the presence of pipelines on the property. A property with multiple pipelines on it may have the highest and best use as a pipeline corridor.

Highest and Best Use Means Dividing Acreage Equally Is Usually Not Done

When partitioning property, it’s important to consider all of the different features of the property. For example, if you have a hundred acres with twenty co-owners, each owning five percent, you can’t simply divide the land into twenty equal parcels. This is because the land may have different values depending on its features, such as access to a creek, location in a flood plain, proximity to a major highway, or the presence of a pipeline corridor.

All of these characteristics of land need to be taken into consideration for valuations when you’re doing a partition. Special commissioners who are tasked with partitioning land, or the parties themselves who are trying to negotiate an agreement, must consider all of these different features.

Which part of the land is next to a road? Does one part have access to water or irrigation? Is one part in the city and the other part not? Is one part zoned for industrial development? All of these factors matter for valuations in partitions, just like they do in valuations in condemnation cases.

Different Land Types and Different Pizza Types Have Different Valuations

I like to use the analogy of a pizza to illustrate this concept of highest and best use. If you have a large pizza, you can order it with different toppings for each quarter. This is similar to how land with different features can have different values.

In my family, everyone has different tastes. I love the Super Supreme pizza, so I might order a quarter of the pizza with Super Supreme toppings. Another quarter might be plain pepperoni, another quarter pepperoni and sausage, and the last quarter just cheese.

Domino’s doesn’t charge me as if the whole pizza is cheese. The Super Supreme slice would be the most valuable, followed by the pepperoni slice, the pepperoni and sausage slice, and finally the cheese slice.

The same is true for land with different features. The parcel with the most valuable features, such as proximity to a major highway or the presence of a pipeline corridor, would have the highest and best use.

I hope this is helpful. If you’re dealing with a land partition case, keep these unique characteristics in mind.

Get the Help You Need in Texas Land Partition

It’s important to talk with an attorney with experience in land partition to help guide you through the process. If we can help, please call 800-266-4870 or text 979-320-9320 for an appointment with Philip.

Related Links