For much of 2020, nearly every facet of life has been impacted by COVID-19, with many things grinding to a halt. For people who are either in the midst of a land condemnation case or who areconcerned about whether a road construction project will encroach on their property, this shutdown has been particularly stressful. As the legal system and government agencies open back up, our eminent domain attorneys in Raleigh are taking a look at how COVID-19 may affect your case moving forward.
Road Projects Throughout North Carolina Are Delayed
Prior to the pandemic hitting, the North Carolina Department of Transportation had multiple road construction projects in the works, either in the planning phase, land acquisition phase, or were ready to move into construction. Because funds had to be pulled from NCDOT to pay for unemployment, health care, and other costs, many of those projects are either delayed temporarily or delayed indefinitely.
If your property was in the path of a project that was still in the planning phase, but you hadn’t been contacted regarding by a Right of Way representative from the state, it may have been pushed back. It’s important to know the status of the project and if your land is still likely to be impacted so you can consult with an attorney to discuss your rights related to eminent domain and have a plan in place if you’re contacted.
Delays in Eminent Domain Cases Currently Underway
The North Carolina courts shut down, along with just about everything else, at the end of March with the exception of emergencies and issues of due process, such as bail hearings. That being said, documents are still able to be filed, mediations can take place over video conference, and of course any communication that can take place via email or phone can continue.
As everything is opening back up, including the court system, your eminent domain case that’s currently underway can get back on track. This means that land appraisals that may have been difficult to schedule can get back on track, negotiations can get underway, and if any hearings need to take place that require a visit to the courthouse, they can be scheduled. Unfortunately, the closure did lead to delays in court proceedings as cases have backed up, but an eminent domain attorney may be able to leverage this in negotiations.
Landowners Awaiting Payment for Land Scheduled for Use
As we mentioned, COVID-19 severely impacted the NCDOT budget, and this means that people who have settled with the state or who are awaiting payment are seeing delays. During normal times, NCDOT will have a settlement out in around 10 weeks, but now, people are waiting closer to four months or longer.
Schedule a Consultation with an Eminent Domain Attorney in Raleigh
No matter where you are in the process of land condemnation, having an attorney to advocate on your behalf can lead to a more favorable outcome while reducing the waiting. Our eminent domain lawyers will work with you to determine if your land may be impacted by an upcoming project and what to do before you’re contacted by a Right of Way representative, and we can also represent you during the process to help you get the full value of your land.
To learn more about our services and see how we can assist you, reach out to us today at (919) 615-2473 or fill out our form below to schedule a consultation.