Eminent Domain & Condemnation Attorneys in North Carolina

At Sever Storey, our mission is to hold condemners—whether they be local, state, federal, utility or other —accountable to the landowners whose land they are acquiring. Our entire firm is built around serving you, the landowner who is facing eminent domain and condemnation.

As a top rated North Carolina eminent domain law firm in America we represent individuals and business owners whose property or business is being adversely impacted by an eminent domain "taking." When property or business interests are impacted by a "taking," the owner of the property or business is entitled to receive "just compensation" for the property.
Our eminent domain attorneys in North Carolina have represented hundreds of landowners like you in the Old North State. We have experience in nearly every type of eminent domain case, including small pipeline acquisitions and large highway projects, and we always work with landowners.

Our depth of experience ensures you will have the expert representation you need and deserve. In sum, we have helped landowners collectively receive millions of dollars more than initially offered by the condemnors.

What Is Eminent Law in North Carolina?

Condemnation law (also known as eminent domain law) refers to the government’s power to exercise eminent domain. In the case of eminent domain, the government has the right to take private land away from a landowner to use for public purposes.

Eminent domain law attorneys in North Carolina represent and defend landowners who are facing eminent domain. Sometimes the government does not offer fair compensation for the land or does not have a valid reason for taking the land. But skilled eminent domain attorneys can help landowners get more compensation and make the process fairer overall.

For eminent domain acquisitions, the government is required by law to provide landowners with just compensation, and if an agreement cannot be reached, landowners have a constitutionally-protected right to a jury trial on compensation. A skilled eminent domain attorney should be able to guide a landowner through the condemnation process and identity any potential pitfalls that may arise.

According to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 40A-63, the measure of compensation is generally the fair market value immediately prior to filing the eminent domain and land condemnation petition. A North Carolina eminent domain lawyer can help sure that all these calculations and considerations are being made properly and fairly.

What Should Landowners Do after Receiving an Eminent Domain Notice in North Carolina?

It’s easy for landowners to feel overwhelmed or confused about what to do after receiving an eminent domain notice. Many landowners in North Carolina do not know their rights in this situation and aren’t sure where to turn to help.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that a North Carolina landowner can take to protect his or her rights in the event of a potential acquisition. Here’s what a landowner should do after receiving an eminent domain notice that the government intends to take their land.

1. Contact an Eminent Domain Attorney in North Carolina

The state or federal government has probably spent months or even years researching a landowner’s property. For this reason, it’s vital for landowners to consult with an eminent domain lawyer as soon as they receive an eminent domain notice to know how fair a condemnor’s offer is.

2. Understand Your Rights

It’s also important for landowners to know their rights after receiving an eminent domain notice. Landowners can challenge the taking of their property or refute the amount the state offers in. In either case, it’s essential to hire a condemnation attorney to handle the case.

3. Do Not Negotiate On Your Own

It is important to remember that a landowner may not be aware of all the compensation he or she is entitled to as a consequence of an acquisition. Therefore, landowners that negotiate on their own often miss out on compensation they never knew they could get. Condemnors may take advantage of unrepresented landowners and seize on the opportunity to get a landowner’s property at a bargain price. It is essential that landowners who receive an offer from a condemnor immediately contact an attorney prior to instigating any negotiations with the condemnor.

4. Do Not Be Intimidated by “Eminent Domain”

Right-of-way agents from condemnors will often use the threat of eminent domain, or condemnation, as a cudgel against landowners, and it is imperative that landowners do not become intimidated by this. Right-of-way agents know that the average landowner does not know the complexities of eminent domain and will often utilize a landowner’s unfamiliarity with condemnation against the landowner. Agents will often utilize eminent domain to scare landowners into accepting low-ball offers in lieu of going to court.

It is imperative for a landowner to not be scared or threatened by the concept of eminent domain. A landowner represented by a qualified and experienced condemnation attorney should not be scared of the concept of litigation, and, depending on the circumstances, may welcome it.


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.

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 and our North Carolina legal team will be happy to help.

A Landowner Focused Eminent Domain Law Firm in North Carolina

Sever Storey is a landowner-only, eminent domain-only law firm. We pride ourselves on ONLY representing property owners who are faced with eminent domain. A lot of lawyers like to position themselves as “eminent domain” lawyers, but if you check out their website, you will find that they practice:

- Eminent domain
- Bankruptcy
- Real estate transactions
- Wills and estates

If you peruse our web site, you will find nothing but eminent domain and condemnation content. Not only that, you will find nothing but landowner-friendly eminent domain content. We have never and will never represent a state, municipality, utility or any other taking authority. Our lawyers and law firm are built around serving you, the North Carolina landowner.


Eminent Domain and Just Compensation in North Carolina

North Carolina law requires that a condemnor seeking to acquire property under threat of eminent domain first issue an offer of compensation to the landowner whose property is being acquired. Often, this offer is supported or buttressed by an appraisal. North Carolina law also mandates that the acquiring agency engage in good faith negotiations with landowners prior to initiating eminent domain.

While in theory these requirements help protect the landowner from getting low-balled, in practice, these guide rails still do not guarantee that an unrepresented landowner will get what he or she is entitled to. For example, an appraisal is simply a third-party’s opinion of the value of your property. Appraisers hired by condemnors often fail to fully consider aspects of a property in order to produce a lower number for the condemnor. Additionally, engaging in “good faith negotiations” does not require that a condemnor accept (or even consider) a landowner’s position of value. An appraisal can be created, and good faith negotiations can be conducted, and a landowner can still lose its valuation battle with a condemnor.

When should I contact a North Carolina eminent domain attorney?

As soon as you learn that your property will be acquired. When it comes to eminent domain, you can never enlist attorney assistance too early. In fact: the earlier, the better. The last thing you want as a landowner is to wait until the last minute and be ill-prepared for a condemnation lawsuit. This is where landowners often get burned.

Why should I hire an attorney when I can negotiate myself?

You should not negotiate yourself because you are not equipped to know what your land is worth or what you should be getting. Illinois eminent domain law is a tricky animal. It allows for several landowner-friendly arguments and crevices within the law that, if properly pursued, can result in much more compensation than what is offered. A landowner cannot possibly be expected to have the knowledge or expertise to explore these arguments. An experienced North Carolina eminent domain attorney can deftly maneuver the eminent domain laws to an outcome much higher than expected for a landowner.

How can I afford an eminent domain attorney in North Carolina?

The attorneys at Sever Storey work on a contingency fee basis—meaning our attorneys only get paid if they secure more compensation than what is offered by the condemnor. Unlike other attorney-client relationships, the contingency fee agreement incentivizes our attorneys to seek as much money as possible.

If you are unsure if you have a case for more compensation, the Sever Storey attorneys will review your case FOR FREE. Just give Jordan Walker a call at 888-318-3761 or shoot him an e-mail at, send him your appraisal, and we will review it FOR FREE. No strings, no invoices, no bills, just an honest assessment of your case for compensation.

Inverse Condemnation in North Carolina

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[4] 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.

Eminent Domain Relocation Costs in North Carolina

In situations where a condemnor forces a business, organization, or landowner to relocate from a property, the entity being moved is not only entitled to compensation for its property interest, it is also entitled to compensation to assist it in relocating to a new location.

The amount, and type, of relocation an entity may receive for relocation is dependent on what is being relocated. For example, a family being moved out of their house is entitled to traditional moving expenses and a differential payment between the value of its old property and the value of a new property (if there is one). A business, however, is entitled to an entirely different set of expenses--including re-establishment costs. Much like in their compensation offers for the property itself, condemnors consistently undervalue the cost involved in relocating businesses. A qualified eminent domain attorney should be able to properly evaluate your relocation compensation in addition to your just compensation.

What are the Limits of Eminent Domain in North Carolina?

A condemnor’s power of eminent domain is not unlimited. Prior to, and during, condemnation proceedings, a putative “taker” must follow certain laws and procedures in order to perfect its authority. For example, a North Carolina condemnor must: 1) Provide adequate notice of the acquisition. 2) Engage in good faith negotiations with the landowner in North Carolina. 3) Put the acquisition to a bona fide "public use".

If a North Carolina condemnor does not follow these requirements, a landowner may be able to raise a successful challenge against the condemnor and stop the acquisition in its tracks. These types of challenges are fact-specific, and a qualified eminent domain attorney should be able to analyze your set of facts and see if a challenge is possible.

How Long Do Eminent Domain Cases Take in North Carolina?

Eminent domain cases depend almost entirely on the speed by which the condemnor chooses to operate. Cases that can be resolved pre-suit usually resolve themselves within a couple months. Cases that require litigation usually last between 12-18 months. Where and when your case resolves traditionally depends on the complexity of the case and how poor the condemnor’s offer is. A good rule of thumb is that the bigger the difference in opinion between the parties, the longer the case takes.

Can Eminent Domain Be Stopped in North Carolina?

In some rare cases, eminent domain can be stopped. As identified above, there may be certain circumstances where a condemnor does not follow the law, and in these instances, a landowner may be able to challenge or stop an acquisition. An attorney familiar with these instances will be able to advise a landowner on whether a landowner’s circumstances warrant a challenge.

More commonly, however, an eminent domain attorney helps to increase compensation and other benefits associated with the taking of land by the government.


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 proposed amendment would add a Section 19.1 to Article I [2] 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.

Public Use and Public Benefit

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” [3], 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.

Contact an experienced North Carolina eminent domain lawyer for assistance

Eminent Domain Projects in North Carolina


This project creates a direct connection between the Durham Freeway and US 70. Improvements to US 70 from Pleasant Drive to north of Holloway Street (NC 98) are also scheduled. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014. Right-of-way negotiations were recently halted when state engineers realized their current design would create significant traffic visibility problems on the new road. Engineers are reworking their design to flatten some areas and move the road’s route away from existing utility lines.

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The Urban Loop project is part of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plan to improve traffic flow within the city. Ideally, the project will help relieve congestion on I-40, particularly in the area where I-40, I-85 and U.S. Routes 29, 70, 220, and 421 all run concurrently. The project involves constructing a four-lane freeway from US 70 to Bryan Boulevard, north of Greensboro. This loop will provide a more direct route for traffic heading from south and east of Greensboro to destinations north and west of the city. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014.

More Detailed Information on the Greensboro Urban Loop Project.

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The City of Greensboro in North Carolina is currently designing the widening of Horse Pen Creek Road. The road will be widened from two lanes to four lanes with curb and gutter, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and a raised landscaped median. The proposed project starts from New Garden Road (SR 2179) to Battleground Avenue (US 220). According to the City of Greensboro, Right-of-Way Acquisitions are anticipated to start this Fall with construction beginning Spring of 2016.

More Detailed Information on the Horse Pen Creek Road Widening - GDOT Project.

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This project involves a light rail transit line that extends from Uptown Charlotte, home to the region’s central business district, to the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The inner segment of the proposed line follows active Norfolk Southern and North Carolina Railroad right-of-way while the outer part follows US 29. The line then diverges from the US 29 right-of-way to proceed onto the campus of UNC Charlotte.

The project also involves four park-and-ride lots that would provide approximately 3,000 parking spaces for commuters. UNC Charlotte is particularly excited about the project, hoping it will provide the college community with greater access to Center City Charlotte’s arts, cultural, and athletic events and drive economic development. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013.

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This McCleansville Road Project is part of a series of improvements to increase railroad capacity, efficiency, and safety to the North Carolina Railroad between Raleigh and Charlotte. The N.C. Department of Transportation is building a new bridge carrying McLeansville Road over the North Carolina Railroad tracks in the town of McLeansville. The project will also close the railroad crossing at Carmon Road and the private Bullard and Black railroad crossing.

According to NCDOT resources the tentative schedule for the acquisition of real estate through eminent domain is is shown below:

Right of Way Acquisition or the use of eminent domain to acquire property– September 2013

Construction – Fall 2014
Completion – 2016

More Detailed Information on the McCleansville Rd & RR Grade Project

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This road widening project in Gaston County, NC plans to widen about 1.3 miles of N.C. 273 to a four lane, median-divided “superstreet” roadway. This project will start from Tuckaseege Road to Highland Street. According to NCDOT, this road project will help increase the road capacity and improve efficiency along N.C. 273 for local and regional traffic.

Right-of-way acquisitions are scheduled to begin this November. Actual construction is scheduled to begin in July 2015.

More Detailed Information on the NC 273 Widening Project.

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This project intends to relocate NC 119 in Mebane, NC. They are hoping to relocate it from I-85 to the existing NC 119 in Alamance County. The existing NC 119 is mostly a two-lane roadway routed through the city of Mebane, which causes through traffic to make several turns and stops through the town. NCDOT is hoping this relocation will help with traffic flow.

This project is split into two sections, A and B. Property Acquisitions for Section A are scheduled to start Fall of 2013 and Section B Property acquisitions in Spring of 2019.

More Detailed Information on the NC Highway 119 - Mebane Project.

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The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will widen and improve 2.5 miles of Mooresville Road between Kannapolis Parkway and Loop Road. The goal of the project is to provide wider outside lanes for bicyclists. Gutter and curbs will also be installed.

The project is expeted to displace 32 residences and five businesses. Right of way acquisition and the use of eminent domain is expected to begin soon.

More Detailed Information on the NC Highway 3 Kannapolis Mooresville Loop Rd Project.

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US 64 Asheboro Bypass & Zoo Connector are two new proposed projects in the Asheboro, NC area that, once complete, will improve the traffic flow on the existing US 64 and improve access to the North Carolina Zoo. The preferred alternative for the US 64 Asheboro Bypass is a proposed 14-mile bypass starting west of the intersection of US 64 and Stutts Road to just east of the intersection of US 64 and Dewey Road. This proposed Bypass, will be a controlled access, four lane, divided highway. The proposed Zoo Connector, will be a new 2-lane parkway linking the Bypass with the North Carolina Zoo. The estimated cost for both Projects is 377.6 million dollars.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2015 with a Let Date of August 19, 2014.

More Detailed Information on the US 64 Asheboro Bypass & Zoo Connector Project.

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The Beltway project has been in the works for more than a decade, but is now finally getting underway. The total length of the new road to be constructed is 34.2 miles and runs from U.S. 158 southwest of Winston-Salem to U.S. 311 southeast of the city. The project involves two segments: the western section and the eastern section. The western section runs from U.S. 158 to U.S. 52, while the eastern section runs from U.S. 52 to U.S. 311. The eastern section will become I-74 upon its completion. Currently, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is speeding up the purchase of property and the start of construction for a portion of the eastern section.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2015 with a Let Date of August 19, 2014.

More Detailed Information on the Winston-Salem Beltway Project.

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What you need to know to be treated fairly by the condemning authority.



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

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