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You are entitled to just compensation. The constitution of North Carolina mandates that you are entitled to just compensation. Unfortunately, the amounts offered by condemnors and takers don’t always provide what our firm believes is fair compensation. It is imperative that you fully understand the impacts to your property before accepting any offer. For instance, does the acquisition change the highest and best use of the property? Does it affect zoning? Will access be impacted? What about parking, landscaping, setbacks? An impact to any of these items could cause substantial damage to the value of the property. Our firm has the experience to examine a taking, quickly determine what impacts have been missed by the Department of Transportation, and then fight for the true compensation to which you are entitled.
In the instance where a building, structure, billboard, improvement, or an entire piece of property is being acquired, you may be faced with relocation. This can be a very tricky and complicated process. There are substantial relocations benefits available in these types of acquisitions that are sometimes never used by landowners. For instance, did you know that federal law provides money for business reestablishment when a relocation occurs. When you have a commercial relocation, it is essential that you hire professionals that can assist you in maximizing your benefit.
When dealing with eminent domain you have only one chance to make the right decision. You should make sure that you fully understand your rights to compensation and the documents you are signing.
Our firm will provide an honest evaluation of your case for free. At Sever Storey, LLP we typically represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that we only receive a fee IF WE GET MORE THAN WHAT YOU WERE OFFERED. Because our fees are tied to your additional compensation, we carefully evaluate each case to determine if we could add additional compensation to your case. This is a free chance to have your case be evaluated by professionals with years of experience and is a service we provide that is well worth utilizing.
Sever Storey has provided legal advice to hundreds of clients involving takings both big and small. Our goal is to ensure that you are fully compensated for the physical taking of your land. In some rare instances, we can also assist in stopping the taking. In our experience, the condemning authority (entity taking your land) rarely considers all of the damages that the landowner has suffered. At Sever Storey, our job is to consider all of the factors that relate to compensation and to hold the taking authority accountable.
Whether or not you decide to hire our firm, we urge you to retain an attorney to represent you in this matter, to ensure that your interests are fully protected. If at any time, you have any questions about eminent domain, condemnation, or would like a free consultation contact us at 888-318-3761 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and our North Carolina legal team will be happy to help.
In the state of North Carolina, eminent domain is defined as the power to divest right, title, or interest from the owner of the property and vest it in the possessor of the power against the will of the owner upon the payment of just compensation for the right, title or interest divested.
If a landowner receives notice that their land is being taken, there are time limits for when they must take legal action depending on who or what entity is condemning the land. The notice is known as a “condemnation complaint” and the document will state why the property is being taken, how much is being taken, and how much it is believed to be worth. Pursuant to North Carolina eminent domain law, a landowner must take legal action within these time limits if a condemnation complaint is filed by one of these agencies:
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)
If the NCDOT is condemning the property, the landowner must file an answer to its condemnation complaint within 12 months.
If the NCDOA or a local public condemnor is seizing the property, the landowner must file your answer within 120 days. In the case of a private condemnor, a property owner may have to respond in as few as 10 days before the Clerk of Court appoints commissioners.
When land is taken or damaged and the landowner has not been served a complaint or declaration, it is known as “inverse condemnation.” To file for compensation for inverse condemnation by the NCDOT or NCDOA or a local public or private condemnor, the landowner must generally file an inverse condemnation complaint within 24 months of the date the affected property was taken or the completion of the project involving the taking, whichever is later, although there are exceptions to this rule.
North Carolina has a long-recognized requirement that an eminent domain action be for the public use and the public benefit. Recent legislative activity reflects that lawmakers have a desire to narrow the requirement through a state constitutional amendment.
The North Carolina General Assembly, House Bill 3 , is entitled: “AN ACT TO AMEND THE NORTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION TO PROHIBIT CONDEMNATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY EXCEPT FOR A PUBLIC USE, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF JUST COMPENSATION WITH RIGHT OF TRIAL BY JURY IN ALL CONDEMNATION CASES, AND TO MAKE SIMILAR STATUTORY CHANGES.”
The proposed amendment would add a Section 19.1 to Article I  of the North Carolina Constitution. The following text would be added by the proposed measure’s approval:
“Sec. 19.1. Eminent domain. Private property shall not be taken by eminent domain except for a public use. Just compensation shall be paid and shall be determined by a jury at the request of any party.”
The amendment had overwhelming support in the N.C. House, where it passed by a vote of 113-5. Although the bill could theoretically appear on the May 3, 2016 ballot in North Carolina, the fact that the General Assembly will not reconvene for it next legislative session until April 2016 makes this unlikely. Nevertheless, landowners and legislators can continue to advocate and support this constitutional change.
The current two-part test will remain the legal standard until there is such a legislative change. The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently illustrated the current public use and benefit analysis in the case of “Town of Matthews v. Wright” , Case No. COA14-943. The opinion of the court provides that a taking of land by a local government must be for both a public use and a public benefit. In that instance, the Town could not show a public benefit, and thus it improperly exercised its eminent domain powers. The case involved multiple legal appeals and a long saga where a municipality pursued its condemnation case based in part upon personal conflicts between the Town and the landowners. learn more]
It is unclear how this case would be read in conjunction with House Bill 3, which specifically requires only “public use”, but the House Bill supporters have generally wanted to make it harder to condemn private property for a project that is not purely public. In order to allow this measure on the North Carolina ballot, it will need to make it out of the state Senate by a 60% vote. Property owners can contact their state representatives to advocate for important eminent domain reforms that will further prevent abuse of this state power and protect the rights of landowners.
Many people do not understand the intricate laws concerning eminent domain. If you receive a condemnation notice, determining the amount of compensation to which you are entitled can be complicated, and the skilled North Carolina eminent domain attorneys at the law office of Sever Storey, LLP can assist you in negotiations, litigation and more.
Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.
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Before going alone against the State let us give you our opinion. It is our pledge that we will provide a free case review for any individual or business facing eminent domain or condemnation. Contact us now at 888-318-3761