Eminent Domain Attorney for Those Affected by the NC 147 Extension
There is currently planning and development underway to build a median-divided, four-lane road to extend NC 147 south, past I-540 in Morrisville. The goal of this $63.53 million project is to improve connections from Morrisville and Research Triangle Park to I-540 and Davis Drive in order to minimize travel times and improve the flow of traffic.
The NC 147 Extension Timeline
Currently the road construction timeline is delayed as NCDOT has had funds shifted from road projects to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, right of way acquisition is scheduled tentatively for 2024. This means that those who own property where NC 147 will be built may be contacted by a representative of NCDOT regarding land condemnation.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent domain refers to the right of a government to obtain a private property from private citizens as long as they provide them with compensation. In the past, property obtained via eminent domain could only be used for public good, but the Supreme Court Case Kelo v. City of New London determined that the government can also use eminent domain on behalf of private developers to further economic development.
NCDOT projects are deemed part of the public good, therefore, a fair use of eminent domain. However, property owners faced with their land being acquired under eminent domain are faced with a tough process, especially if the government isn’t offering fair compensation. An experienced eminent domain attorney can provide guidance and ensure that you are treated fairly.
What is Land Condemnation?
In an eminent domain case, you may hear the term land condemnation, which can be confusing. This term doesn’t refer to the condemning of land for hazards or sanitation, thus making it unusable. In this context, land condemnation refers to the actual seizure of the property using the powers of eminent domain.
What is the Eminent Domain Process in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, once a public project, like NC 147 Extension, is announced, several public meetings legally must be held. If your property is in the vicinity of a project, it’s important to attend these meetings, as information will be given about how property will be affected. If it’s determined that your property may be acquired under eminent domain, contact an attorney immediately to help guide you through the process. Here’s what you can expect:
- The government will send an agent to inspect and appraise your property.
- An appraiser selected by yourself and your eminent domain lawyer appraises the property.
- The government will make an offer. Do not assume that the initial offer will be fair. The first offer will be based on an appraiser hired by the government,
- If the property owner and the government agree on compensation, the sale will move forward.
- If compensation cannot be agreed upon, eminent domain proceedings will begin.
Eminent Domain Proceedings
Eminent domain proceedings can occur without prior negotiations. Here’s how it works:
- The government initiates the eminent domain proceeding by filing a complaint and declaration of taking in the superior court of the county where the property is located.
- The property owner or NCDOT requests the appointment of commissioners within 60 days after the property owner files their answer to the complaint. The commissioners are disinterested property owners residing in the county.
- The commissioners will visit the property, hear testimony, and hold hearings to determine compensation.
- If the property owner is still not satisfied with the compensation, he or she can appeal within 30 days and the case will be heard by a jury.
Eminent Domain Resources for Landowners
The NCDOT makes every effort to minimize the number of homes and businesses affected by its projects, but with larger projects, such as new roads, it’s often unavoidable. Fortunately, the NCDOT offers relocation assistance for residents and businesses displaced by eminent domain. This assistance can come in the form of rent payments, moving costs, and paying for property storage, if necessary. An eminent domain lawyer can assist you in determining the type of assistance you are qualified to receive.
Eminent Domain Lawyer in Raleigh
If your property lies south east of where NC 147 ends, near Davis Drive and I-540, the NCDOT may acquire it using eminent domain. In some cases, you may eligible for more than simply the cost of your land. The experienced eminent domain lawyers of Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas, LLP will review your case and help you receive just compensation, as well as any related assistance funds in which you are entitled. In some cases, you may be eligible for compensation for business losses as well.
If you are contacted by a Right of Way agent regarding this project, call our Raleigh law firm immediately at (919) 615-2473 or complete the form below to speak with us about eminent domain and land condemnation. We will guide you through the process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your time, property, and any other associated costs.