In the state of North Carolina, the Transportation Corridor Map Act[1] allows the Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to file official roadway maps listing and mapping properties that are in the path of a proposed roadway in order to create a “protected corridor” that it may use in the future for highway bypass projects.  NCDOT used their powers under what has become known as the “Map Act” in projects throughout the state, including the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway, the Greensboro Urban Loop Project, and the Monroe Bypass, among others. North Carolina land owners in areas and projects affected by the Map Act were prevented from obtaining building permits, making improvements on their property, and subdividing or developing their land. Protected corridor designations also effectively made properties unsellable because real estate market buyers knew a parcel would likely be taken by eminent domain.

North Carolina Supreme Court Decision

On June 10, 2016, in the case of Kirby v. NCDOT[2], the North Carolina Supreme Court determined that the maps were harmful to land owners based upon their removal of land owners’ rights to sell, improve or modify their property and that the maps amounted to a taking of landowners’ property without just compensation thereby exercising the government’s power of eminent domain.  The Supreme Court further decided that North Carolina land owners are allowed to seek damages for their losses including:

•    The value of the land rights that have been taken from land owners
•    Annual interest back to the date of the Transportation Corridor Official Map filings
•    Attorneys fees
•    Expenses and reimbursement for back taxes paid

The Supreme Court decision has implications that go beyond the Map Act and the taking of property for road-building. Had the ruling gone the other way, it might well have opened the door to uncompensated takings[3] in various other situations, as well. There are many situations where the state might want to lower the value of property by indefinitely banning development, so it can then take the property at a later date in order to use it for a public project.

Contact a North Carolina Condemnation Attorney

If you are a North Carolina landowner who has been affected by the Transportation Corridor Map Act, it is important to contact an experienced North Carolina condemnation attorney as soon as possible. The team of skilled lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP, were the first to file cases in Guilford County for the Greensboro Urban Loop[4] after the North Carolina Supreme Court ruling and have helped lead the way to protecting the legal rights of North Carolina Property owners.  They understand the value of your land, how it is adversely affected by eminent domain, and the potential claims and compensation that the law allows.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.