The State of North Carolina has notified you that it intends to take part of your property for a road. The State has made you an offer that it contends represents your property’s fair market value. In justifying its offer, the State stresses that your property is “farmland” or in a “rural setting”. We’ve heard those statements before, particularly for road projects in agricultural regions in Eastern North Carolina. Our experience has been that those justifications don’t hold up under scrutiny and that our clients are entitled to more compensation, even for rural property, because of the concept of “highest and best use.”
No matter how your property is being used today, as farmland, open space, or even residential use, North Carolina law requires it be valued for eminent domain purposes based upon its highest and best use. Our Supreme Court put it this way: “In determining fair market value of land condemned, essential inquiry is what property is worth in the market, viewed not merely with reference to uses to which it is at the time applied but uses to which it is plainly adapted, i. e., what it is worth by reason of its availability for all valuable uses.”
Part of our work on any North Carolina eminent domain case is to assess the highest and best use of your property. Many times this requires experts beyond appraisers. Experts in development, land planning, and even soil science help us put together a case that shows the maximum value of your property and also demonstrates how a road project damaged your ability to use your property to its highest potential. Quite often our clients don’t realize their own property’s potential value until we take them through that process.
If your property is threatened with a taking by eminent domain, you have a right to fair compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler and Thomas are your NC land condemnation attorneys when faced with an eminent domain case. For over 40 years, we have represented land condemnation cases all over North Carolina. Contact us today or call 919-615-2473 for your free consultation.
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