Eminent Domain Attorney in High Point

High Point is a growing community and the current infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the challenges that come with rapid growth. In order to meet these challenges, there is a plan in place to widen Sandy Ridge Road, from where it connects to I-40 to Johnson Road. The project will then move south on Johnson Road, stopping at Skeet Club Road. Spanning a total of 4.4 miles, the plan includes widening the road from two to four lanes and discussions are in place about adding bike lanes, a multi-use path, and a sidewalk.

While the goal of the project is to improve connection between High Point and Greensboro, drive more traffic to the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, and improve the flow of traffic to the Piedmont Triad International Airport, it’s not without concerns. With a budget of $53.2 million dollars, over $8 million of that is set aside for property acquisition. This means that if your property borders Sandy Ridge or Johnson Road, your land may be at risk of land condemnation for the project. If you are contacted by a Right of Way representative, it’s important to have an experienced eminent domain attorney in High Point to work on your behalf rather than being at the mercy of the Department of Transportation.

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What is Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain refers to the US or state government’s right  to obtain property from private citizens as long as they are fairly compensated. In the past, property obtained via eminent domain could only be used for projects deemed to favor 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 or run utilities.

NCDOT projects are considered beneficial to the public good, therefore, a fair use of eminent domain. However, property owners still deserve fair compensation which is often not offered from the state, which is why it’s necessary to speak with an experienced eminent domain attorney can provide guidance and ensure that you are treated fairly.

What is Land Condemnation?

In an eminent domain case, land condemnation refers to seizing property. Basically, while eminent domain is the right to take land, land condemnation is the act of taking it (with fair compensation). This is completely separate from the idea of  condemning land or property because it’s unsafe or hazardous. 

What is the Eminent Domain Process in North Carolina?

When a public project is announced in North Carolina, meetings are held which are open to the public. If your property is in the vicinity of a project, you can learn more about the project and if your property will be affected. If it’s determined that your property may be seized, contact an eminent domain attorney as soon as possible 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 does try to minimize the number of homes and businesses affected by its projects, mainly to help save money, but sometimes, it is unavoidable. Fortunately, the NCDOT offers relocation assistance for residents and businesses displaced by eminent domain as well as paying for their property. 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 for High Point Property Owners

If your property lies along Sandy Ridge Road or Johnson Street between I-40 and Skeet Club Road, the NCDOT may acquire a portion of it using eminent domain, and 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 in High Point, call our 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.