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Chambers v. State ex rel. Morrison

Supreme Court of Arizona

May 31, 1957

Mary Riordan CHAMBERS, Appellant,
STATE of Arizona, ex rel. Robert MORRISON, The Attorney General, and the Board of Regents of the State Colleges and University of Arizona, Appellees.

Page 156

[82 Ariz. 279] Shimmel, Hill & Cavanagh, Phoenix, for appellant.

Robert Morrison, Atty. Gen., and Gordon G. Aldrich, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellees.

PHELPS, Justice.

Appellee Arizona State College at Flagstaff, brought an action in eminent domain against appellant Mary Riordan Chambers, to condemn a triangular shaped piece of land consisting of 4.15 acres of a 14-acre tract adjoining the college on the west. In connection with land now owned by college the land is to be used as a training school site. The appellee [82 Ariz. 280] will hereinafter be designated as the college and the appellant as Mrs. Chambers.

The trial court, sitting without a jury, entered a judgment of condemnation in favor of the College and against Mrs. Chambers, who appeals herein and presents five assignments of error. Four of the five assignments, in the final analysis, are directed at the question of 'necessity'. It is urged that the findings and conclusion of the trial court on this question are not supported by substantial evidence.

A.R.S. § 12-1112 sets out the prerequisites to the taking of property by condemnation. Before property may be taken under the circumstances of this case it must appear that: (1) the use to which the property is to be applied is a use authorized by law, that is, a public use, and (2) the taking is necessary for such use.

Mrs. Chambers does not argue that property taken for the building site of a training school is not a public use, but instead, contends that the second prerequisite is absent, in that, there is no necessity for the taking because the new proposed training school can be located on the college campus on land presently owned by the College.

The principal question then becomes: Is there present in the record, substantial evidence to support the findings and conclusion of the trial court to the effect that necessity exists for condemnation.

We will hereinafter analyze the evidence bearing upon this question to determine if there is substantial evidence to support the judgment of the trial court.

Dr. Eastburn, president of the College, testified that the Board of Regents found it imperative to build a new training school building which would serve as a laboratory school to house over 200 students from the kindergarten to the 6th grade, and which will contain class rooms for students taking courses in teaching; that a certain amount of playground area is needed for the children in the laboratory school; that the need for the training school has been under consideration by the entire educational staff for the past seven years; that there is other land on the campus that might be suitable but that it was not usable because of the distance from other buildings, which would make the costs of heating, tunneling, drainage

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and fill too great; that it would cost $150,000 just to run the heating and utilities tunnel to the next nearest possible location; that the College owns approximately 164 acres; that accessibility to other places on the campus is a major factor in location, since students travel from building to building between classes; that the College enrollment for the last academic year was 908; that enrollment is predicted to run to 2,000 by 1970; that a temporary site utilization plan for development of the campus was drawn up [82 Ariz. 281] by a competent architect, Leslie J. Mahoney, seven years age, but that it is out of date because of the many changes during that period; that there are certain temporary class rooms and structures indicated on the Mahoney plan, which, the College at some future time intends to replace, but which are still useful and will be costly to replace; that the present training school is too small and outmoded; that there is no playground for the children and there are no class rooms available for college class instruction in connection with the training school; that a plan sponsored by Mrs. Chambers, through her architect Beanfield, hereinafter referred to as the Beanfield plan, would place all buildings on the present campus but this would (1) entail the removal of nine buildings, and (2) it would be necessary to secure from the legislature funds amounting to one million dollars for building replacement.

Virgil W. Gillenwater, head of the department of education, testified that under the standards recommended by the American Association of School Administrators, at least seven acres will be needed for the new training school and its dual purposes

Col. R. McClellan Beanfield, a consulting mechanical engineer, testifying for Mrs. Chambers, stated that he had prepared a plan to place the proposed training school on the campus in such a way as to utilize the land already owned by the College (this plan is an exhibit in evidence). That under his plan the following structures are recommended for removal: (a) temporary class room building, (b) temporary offices, (c) machine shop, (d) hot house, (e) infirmary, (f) garage, (g) repair garage, and (h) three frame dwellings. He stated that in his opinion, acquisition of the triangular piece of property in question was unnecessary.

Mr. Atkinson, the registered architect who designed the plans for the training school building, testified that he believed ten acres to be a minimum area for the training achool plot; that he had nothing to do with selecting the triangular location in question; that generally, the essence of successful location of buildings depends upon site plan utilization; that under the Beanfield plan a road would have to be taken out, causing a consequent traffic problem; also, that under the area outlined in the Beanfield plan, the power plant would have to be moved and that the expense would be terrific since the original building cost $750,000 and all the underground tunnels are directed to that location; that even if the road were removed and the power plant left in place, there would be a safety problem because there would be children playing in an area where all the College maintenance occurs; that the buildings that would have to be removed, under the Beanfield plan, still have a present useful life [82 Ariz. 282] of ten to fifteen years; that it was his opinion, as an architect, that he would not want to locate the training school in such a 'restricted' area as urged under the Beanfield plan; that it is desirable to utilize campus space according to a steady plan; that the training school building plotted under the Mahoney plan contained 12,000 square feet in contrast to the new proposed structure of 40,000 square feet; that the other proposed ...

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