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In eminent domain cases, the concept of “benefit” comes into play because property owners may receive an enhancement in the value of their remaining property after the condemnation.If the enhancement is special to them, or only a very few owners, rather than the general betterment enjoyed by the public at large by the anticipated improvements, then any condemnation award to them may be reduced by the amount of the benefits.
Example: Ken owns 5 acres of land near an eight-lane city thoroughfare. The only thing pre- venting him from having valuable road frontage is a 2-foot-deep strip of land still owned by Elsie. This is the only land remaining to Elsie after successive road widenings over the years. The city decides to widen the road again and takes all the rest of Elsie's land and a 15-foot-deep strip of Ken's land. The city is liable to Ken for the 15-foot sliver, but Ken suddenly has 5 acres of extremely valuable road frontage property. Ken probably won't receive a check from the city because of the special benefits he received from the condemnation.