What is the process of eminent domain in North Carolina?
What's the Process?
The process of eminent domain in North Carolina generally involves several steps. Keep in mind that the specifics may vary based on the nature of the project, the condemning authority, and other factors. Here's a general overview:
1. Project Identification and Planning:
The condemning authority identifies a public project for which it needs to acquire private property through eminent domain. This could include projects like highways, public buildings, utilities, or other public infrastructure.
2. Authorization and Public Hearing:
The condemning authority seeks legal authorization to use eminent domain for the identified project. There may be a public hearing to inform affected property owners and the public about the proposed project and its potential impact on private properties.
3. Appraisal of the Property:
The condemning authority conducts an appraisal to determine the fair market value of the properties that will be affected by the project. This valuation is used to establish the amount of just compensation owed to property owners.
4. Negotiations and Offer:
The condemning authority may attempt to negotiate with property owners to acquire the necessary land voluntarily. They typically make an initial offer based on the property appraisal.
5. Good Faith Negotiations:
The condemning authority and property owners engage in good faith negotiations to try to reach an agreement on the terms of the property acquisition, including the purchase price and any other relevant conditions.
6. Condemnation Complaint and Legal Proceedings:
If negotiations fail, the condemning authority may file a condemnation complaint in court. IN North Carolina, the “taking “ occurs either upon the filing of the complaint by the condemning authority, or upon commencement of the project by the condemning authority. If a project has commenced on your property, it will be indumbent upon you, the property owner, to sue the condemning authority for “inverse condemnation,” which entitles you to attorney fees in addition to the just compensation you are entitled to under the law. The filing of a complaint initiates legal proceedings, and the court will determine whether the taking is for a public purpose and whether the condemning authority followed proper procedures.
7. Court Proceedings and Compensation Determination:
The court holds a hearing to consider the commissioners' recommendations and other evidence. The judge then determines the final amount of just compensation to be awarded to the property owner.
8. Possession and Compensation Payment:
After the court's determination, the property owner receives the awarded compensation, which should cover the fair market value of the property taken and any additional damages.
It's crucial for property owners facing eminent domain proceedings to seek legal advice from one of RHR’s attorneys experienced in North Carolina condemnation law. This can help ensure that their rights are protected and that they receive fair compensation for the taking of their property.