City of Langley ordered to increase compensation to owner of expropriated land

Supreme Court rules $800,000 payment for strip of land acquired to build 204 Street overpass was insufficient

A property holding company has successfully sued Langley City for lost value of expropriated land, purchased  for the building of the 204 Street overpass.

Following a trial in Supreme Court in New Westminster that ended Oct. 3, a judge agreed with the plaintiff, Rockcliffe Estates, ruling that the City of Langley didn’t appropriately compensate the company.

The City has been ordered to pay roughly $1.54 million. The City originally paid around $800,000 for a strip of land that fronts 204 Street.

But Rockcliffe Estates claims compensation for the value of land expropriated as well as for the reduction in market value to surrounding lands it owns, where Scan Designs is located, and to land adjoining the remaining lands, plus interest and costs.

Rockcliffe argued that the overpass has impeded sight lines and accessibility to Scan Design’s furniture store.

Langley argued Rockcliffe has been appropriately compensated by the payments it has already made.

Rockcliffe is in the business of owning and managing various properties in Langley, including owning and leasing the land to Costco and the 200 Street mall containing the Cactus Club.

Rockcliffe has owned the three lots which front on the Bypass since the early 1970s, when the company’s original owner Mr. Mearns Sr., who is now deceased, bought them. His three children are the current shareholders of Rockcliffe. His daughter, Marilyn Mearns is the current president and managing director.

“Langley itself was delinquent in updating its original assessment of Rockcliffe’s loss,” said Justice Bruce Greyell in the judgment.

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