Attorney & Author Jason Campbell has been involved with the I-540 project for nearly as long as it’s been on the drawing boards. Before joining the NC Eminent Domain Law firm, he was a former Assistant Attorney General with the State of North Carolina and represented the NCDOT in property negotiations, including those for the I-540 project.
Orange you glad the NCDOT finally settled on a route to complete I-540?
After 20 years and 15+ different (and colorful) routes in the making, the Southeast Extension of the Triangle Expressway will finally reach the end of the road – quite literally – to complete the I-540 Outer Loop.
Having worked for the NCDOT, I’ve seen both sides of this massive and lengthy effort – the good, the bad, and the ugly. In a previous blog wrote on this subject, I offered outlines of the various plans, and hinted that the Orange Route would likely be chosen, simply because it offered the most compromise all around. The NCDOT has been buying some properties along this particular route for the last decade. So it doesn’t surprise me that this is the one they chose.
Orange route disrupts 281 properties and 74 acres of wetlands
Although land in this area is being acquired, there’s still controversy surrounding the Orange Route preferred by the NCDOT for the Southeast Extension. Those in favor insist that it offers the best compromise and presents the least disruption to homes, communities, and the social fabric.
Although most of the other routes would displace more than 400 homes and businesses, the Orange route will still require 281 people and their families to give up their homes, properties, and livelihoods to make way for the highway.
Others are upset that the Orange Route will impact more than 74 acres of wetlands, and possibly disrupt the already-endangered dwarf wedgemussel. More research will need to be done to determine just how much. And what this research uncovers depends on whether the feds will continue to okay it. Stay tuned.
Even so, right-of-way agents for the NCDOT will likely begin contacting property owners to initiate the negotiation process. Approximately, $250 million has been set aside for right-of-way takings.
Which properties will be affected?
Though many residents, businesses, and homes are affected by the ongoing construction in different ways, there are certain properties the NCDOT has identified as located near the construction route and highly likely to be impacted.
Here are the most heavily impacted jurisdictions:
- Wake County: 150 subdivisions
- Knightdale: 26 subdivisions
- Holly Springs: 19 subdivisions
- Apex: 14 subdivisions
- Garner: 6 subdivisions
Additional impacted jurisdictions include:
- Johnston County
Is your property affected? Here’s our advice.
Although the NCDOT has selected the Orange Route, the federal government still needs to approve it. While everyone’s still playing the waiting game, here’s how we see this playing out:
Now that the NCDOT has settled on its preferred corridor, a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief. But there are some folks whose discomfort is just beginning. For years, the NCDOT has essentially frozen the development of almost all the property it will end up buying to build the Southeast Extension.
Now they’re going to finally start making offers on and buying property.
This will be a stressful time for many. The NCDOT has their own group of negotiators and appraisers who do this day after day. They are highly skilled at using any number of methods and approaches to try to buy land as cheaply as is reasonably possible.
To level the playing field, you may need someone on your side who will fight for you to try to get what’s fair for your property. In my experience, property owners who have tried to go at this on their own have almost always gotten less for their property.
The good news: Getting help early doesn’t cost more
The best news is that if you can find a law firm that works on a contingency basis, you won’t pay any more if you hire an attorney early on – and they can be a great help in setting you up for what are hopefully successful negotiations later on.
For example, at our firm, we only charge a fee based on what we’re able to achieve above the government’s initial offer, so you get the same amount you would have without us. And, as with most firms, it’s the same amount if you hire us five years before you have to move out, or the day before.
You may need an experienced NC property rights attorney
When considering which law firm to choose, be sure the firm is experienced in dealing with eminent domain cases. I’ve watched several general practice attorneys try to handle them, and the results can be potentially devastating. Eminent domain is a complicated arena and takes an experienced hand.
As a measuring stick for the kind of experience you should look for, my colleague Stan Abrams and I have worked exclusively on eminent domain cases for over 85+ years combined – and many of those years were spent at the NCDOT. We are very familiar with both sides of the negotiation process and really enjoy being able to put that expertise to work for you.
If you live along the Orange Route or the Green, Mint, Green Route and need to move or need immediate compensation for some other reason, please contact us 24/7 at 1-877-393-4990 for a free case evaluation. We may be able to help.