Challenging eminent domain in NC
Buying a house is a major milestone. You spend weeks or even months shopping for the ideal house for you and your family, then you spend years making it a home.
At any moment, the government can come along and decide to take your land or your house – maybe to build a new school, maybe to widen a road, or maybe even just to build a new strip mall to increase its tax base.
When you get the notice that the government plans to take your land for NC eminent domain projects, you may be asking, “How can I stop this from happening?” Unfortunately, the answer may be “You can’t.” However, a qualified North Carolina eminent domain lawyer can help guide you through the process and may be able to help you successfully challenge the use of North Carolina eminent domain to take your land or home.
Grounds for challenging North Carolina eminent domain
In order to take your property under eminent domain in North Carolina, the condemning authority – the government or a private developer given the right of eminent domain – must show that your property is necessary for “public use.”
There are two common ways that North Carolina eminent domain can be challenged: by showing that the proposed project does not qualify as “public use” or by showing that the property in question is not “necessary” for that use.
“Public use” has been broadly defined. In one landmark case, Kelo vs. New London, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that allowed property to be taken for privately sponsored development purposes. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer wanted to expand its presence in New London, Connecticut, and the city granted it the power of eminent domain to take private property.
Since that ruling, several states have passed legislation to curb eminent domain abuse and the overly broad definition of “public use” for taking private property.
A North Carolina eminent domain lawyer may be able to challenge the taking of your property under eminent domain by showing that the proposed project does not qualify as a “public use.” An eminent domain lawyer may also be able to show that your property – either all or a portion of it – is not necessary for a public project.
Administrative challenges to North Carolina eminent domain
If you cannot successfully challenge the grounds for taking your property under North Carolina eminent domain, you may be able to save your property by showing that the government did not act appropriately in its attempts or by delaying the project.
A North Carolina eminent domain lawyer may be able to save your property by showing that the government did not follow proper procedures when trying to take your property, such as not providing fair notice (including the intent to seize the property, a description of the project, and an offer price).
Often, a North Carolina eminent domain challenge will only result in a delay of the taking, as it just gives the government time to correct any problems, such as adhering to proper procedures or providing additional documentation about the nature of the public project. However, in some cases, a delay might derail the project by posing additional expenses to the condemning authority or by pushing the project past the date by which it needs to be completed.
Eminent domain cannot be challenged on the grounds that fair compensation was not offered, though the amount of compensation can be challenged during the eminent domain hearing.
North Carolina eminent domain lawyers
If you have been notified that the government or a private developer wants to take your property under eminent domain, you should contact our team of North Carolina eminent domain lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.
Eminent domain laws are complicated, and North Carolina eminent domain team can guide you through the process and work to try to challenge the taking. If your property cannot be protected, an eminent domain lawyer can work to try to get you fair compensation for your property.