Walker Cassidy had a dream of farming his own land, building a home, and honoring the memory of a dear friend in the process. Instead, he has ended up in a bureaucratic nightmare–despite owning 71 acres in Shelby, NC, he cannot build, farm, or even mow down the weeds. The state doesn’t even want him to walk on the property… but, yes, they do still want him to pay property taxes.
According to an article in the Shelby Star, Cassidy was given the land in 2006 by a friend, M.D. Yarboro, whose health had started to decline. Cassidy promised Yarboro that he would honor their friendship by building a house on the property, and moving there as soon as possible.
Cassidy applied for a building permit, but was denied. He wanted to use the land for farming, but was again denied. After that, Cassidy said the land wasn’t technically being used for agriculture so his property taxes went up and he had to pay three years in back taxes.
He said because his land is in the pathway of the future U.S. 74 bypass project, NCDOT doesn’t allow him to mow it, make repairs, or do anything that would require a permit.
When Your Property Isn’t Your Own
The problem is that Cassidy’s land is in a “Protected Corridor,” which is a designation used by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to identify land that will be needed in the future to build a road. In this case, Cassidy’s land is in the pathway of the future U.S. 74 bypass project.
Under rules of a protected corridor, you can make repairs to a property or sell a property, but that’s about it. No building a home or working the land. This can go on for years, decades, indefinitely. And good luck trying to sell a property that’s in a protected corridor–no one wants to buy land that can’t be developed or used. But yes, you are still required to pay property taxes on the useless land.
Does that seem right to you? We don’t think so. In fact, we believe it is unconstitutional and illegal because it deprives property owners of their property without compensation.
HensonFuerst attorney Anne Duvoisin and Winston-Salem attorney Matthew Bryant have filed an inverse condemnation lawsuit on behalf of Cassidy. Sadly, he is just one of many landowners in this position. In Cleveland County alone, more than 200 property owners are similarly affected.
To hear more about property owners’ frustrations, and to discuss legal options, attorneys Fisher and Bryant will be hosting a meeting at the Shelby Public Library on May 19, 2014, from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm.
“I hope that the DOT realizes that they cannot intimidate, humiliate and bully people,” said Walker Cassidy, in the Shelby Star article. He said he decided to file the lawsuit because he “got tired of seeing them [the DOT] mistreat people.”
The meeting at the Shelby Public Library is free and open to the public. If you would like more information about the situation or the meeting, or if you are also frustrated by the NCDOT and would like to discuss your legal options, please feel free to contact HensonFuerst attorney Anne Duvoisin. (Anne Duvoisin and Matthew Bryant will handle all cases together, bringing the power of two great law firms to each case.) Ms. Fisher can be reached at 1-800-4-LAWMED, or via the email contact form at www.hensonfuerst.com.
If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
To read the full article in the Shelby Star, click here: http://www.shelbystar.com/news/local/property-owner-sues-ncdot-for-locking-down-land-1.311958?tc=cr