32 CFR 644.46 - Easements.
(a) Definition. An easement is a property right of specified use and enjoyment falling short of fee ownership. It follows that the value of an easement is less than the market value of fee title to the same portion of property (exclusive of severance damages to residual portions).
(b) Measure of value. The measure of compensation for an easement is the amount by which market value of the ownership is diminished by the imposition of the easement. This should be developed by use of the “before” and “after” method of appraisal, the difference being the value of the taking.
(c) Flowage easements.
(1) The appraisal of flowage easements will not be undertaken until flood frequency surveys have been completed and approved by proper authority. The flood frequency data will be made available to the appraisers with the definite understanding that it is to be accepted as one of the controlling factors in estimating the market value of the easements. The appraiser's certificate should be qualified to include the assumption that the frequency data is correct and that he has no responsibility therefore.
(2) The market value of fee simple title to each property over which a flowage easement is required will first be appraised in the usual manner. This estimate will be followed by appraisal of the market value of the property after imposition of the easement. The market value of the easement is then computed on the basis of the amount the market value of fee title is reduced by imposition of the easement. The appraiser will give full consideration to all factors having a bearing on the reduction in value of the parcel on which the easement is to be imposed. Each appraisal report will include complete information as to estimated flood frequency pertaining to each parcel appraised.
(3) The appraiser's major problem in appraising tracts having considerable value is the development of his value estimate after the imposition of the easement. The market data approach to value is limited in this phase of the appraisal to index sales of land reflecting the “use adaptability” of lands to a less profitable purpose. Typical of such change in highest and best use are the conversion of row crop land and orchard land to pasture and forestry. Likewise, the cost approach to value is applicable only to land improvements and structures to be removed or destroyed. It is, therefore, considered essential that flowage easement appraisals reflect, in adequate detail, changes in utility by the development and use of the earnings approach to value before and after imposition in all cases involving lands capable of producing income. The ratios thus developed in “before” and “after” values for income producing lands should prove to be helpful in developing appropriate ratios for nonproductive lands.
(4) In those instances where the type of land, topography, flood frequency and duration data clearly indicate that a minimal change in value (not to exceed $100) will result from exercise of the required rights, a brief appraisal is authorized. The appraisal report will contain as a minimum a complete statement of pertinent facts, including information regarding flood frequency and duration data pertaining to the property appraised. In the event condemnation is required to acquire the necessary rights, an acceptable “before” and “after” appraisal will be prepared prior to the institution of condemnation proceedings.
(5) A tract map showing each contour level of varying flood frequency will be made a part of each appraisal report. This map should facilitate review of the appraisals and serve as an aid to the negotiator in his contacts.
(d) Other easements. It is recognized that many other types of easements, i.e., road, pipeline, restrictive, borrow, transmission line, flight, spoil, etc. are to be appraised. In all instances, the measure of value is still the same, the amount by which the market value of the ownership is diminished by the imposition.