Under current North Carolina law, the government may use eminent domain to take private property for “public use or benefit,” which sometimes results in  seized land being handed over to private parties. This is consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, in which it held that “public use” meant economic development – such as increased tax revenue or the creation of jobs.

According to a report published at Mondaq.com, the North Carolina House is considering a bill that would place an amendment on the 2018 ballot. The amendment, if passed, would not allow the exercise of eminent domain except for public use, which the law leaves undefined. Furthermore, the law would require that landowners whose property has been seized by the government be paid just compensation.

This Change Would Provide Landowners Increased Protection

Landowners whose property is subject to an attempted exercise of eminent domain are often bewildered at the entire concept of a “taking.” In many cases, it seems as if the government is simply coming in and forcing them to sell their property without providing any justification. It is important to keep in mind that there are limitations as to what the government can do, and officials who are attempting to condemn property pursuant to eminent domain must be able to show that the land will be used to for “public purpose.”

If this amendment becomes North Carolina law, it will provide landowners with significantly more protections that currently exist. The government could only take property for a “public use,” which presumably would mean things like roads and schools. Furthermore, the law would allow landowners to compel a jury trial to determine how much the government would pay in any particular case.

Contact Sever Storey, LLP Today to Speak with an Eminent Domain Attorney

At Sever Storey, LLP, we focus on helping landowners with issues related to eminent domain and condemnation. With over 25 years of combined legal experience, we know how to hold governments and other parties attempting to exercise eminent domain accountable. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 888-318-3761 or contact us online.

1 https://www.oyez.org/cases/2004/04-108