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Pending Land Condemnation Legislation at Risk

If you are a property owner in North Carolina, we urge you to contact your State Senator, and any of the other State Senators on the following list, and ask them to support two pending laws, both of which passed with overwhelming support in the House… but have been stymied in the Senate. This request is time sensitive – only a few weeks remain in the current legislative session. We have waited too long for fairness in the way DOT takes land from private citizens in this state. These bills would bring North Carolina into line with the majority of states in terms of protecting property rights.

 

House Bill 127

The first bill was introduced by Representative Stam as House Bill 127, and passed easily by a vote of 102 to 8. That bill brought the following improvements for property owners whose real estate is being taken by the DOT or other North Carolina governmental entity:

  • Property owners will be paid interest on judgments from date of the property is taken until the date judgment is paid.
  • Fairer compensation for property owners by modifying the measure of damages.
  • Property owners will be reimbursed for their appraisal and engineering costs in condemnation proceedings.
  • The DOT will be required to provide relocation notices to condemnees at the same time as they are served with condemnation complaints, notices of deposit, and memorandums of action.

It is anticipated that this bill, which was tabled by the Senate Transportation Committee, will be reintroduced to the Senate this session. With enough public outcry, there’s a good chance the bill will be passed.

 

Senate Bill 74

The second bill, House Bill 3 introduced by Representative McGrady, passed the House 113 to 5. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jackson as Senate Bill 74. Even though it passed the Senate on its first reading, it was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, where it has languished.

This bill will provide protection for North Carolina citizens against predatory condemnation practices in which private parties can take land from homeowners, even if there is no public good.

Ten years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stunning opinion, Kelo v. City of New London, which permitted the City of New London to raze a neighborhood, taking homes from private citizens to give the land to another private citizen, a corporation intending to bring private enterprise to New London. The houses were razed, and now the land sits fallow and undeveloped. The project was never built. Across the country, a wave of outrage led most states (40) to adopt laws and constitutional amendments preventing private property from being taken from one private citizen and given to another (who the government might like better or thinks might bring in greater tax revenue). North Carolina was one of the few states which did nothing to protect its citizens from that decision. Consequently, private property continues to be taken from private parties and given to other private parties through the condemnation process.

Senate Bill 74 would bring North Carolina into the family of states that provide protection against this type of predatory condemnation for its citizens.

 

Call to Action

Adoption of these two bills would greatly improve the rights of North Carolina’s property owners, while having little fiscal impact on state government costs. Please ask your senator to help make that happen.

When contacting your State Senator, please let them know that you are their constitutent, and that you and your fellow citizens will be adversely impacted if these bills are not passed.

 

Key senators to contact regarding this legislation (even if they are not your Senator) are:

 

Sen. Jim Davis

Cherokee, Clay, Macon, Graham, Jackson, Swain, Haywood

(919) 733-5875
Jim.Davis@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Bob Rucho

Mecklenburg

919-733-5655

Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Jeff Tarte

Mecklenburg

(919) 715-3050
Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Trudy Wade

Guilford

(919) 733-5856
Trudy.Wade@ncleg.net

 

Sen. John Alexander

Wake

(919) 733-5850
John.Alexander@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Chad Barefoot

Wade, Franklin

(919) 715-3036
Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Tamara Barringer

Wake

(919) 733-5653
Tamara.Barringer@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Dan Soucek

Caldwell, Ashe, Watauga, Avery, Alleghany

(919) 733-5742
Dan.Soucek@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Shirley Randleman

Wilkes, Surry, Stokes

(919) 733-5743
Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net

 

Sen. David Curtis

Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln

(919) 715-3038
David.Curtis@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Andrew Brock

Davie, Rowan, Iredell

(919) 715-0690
Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Ronald Rabin

Lee, Harnett, Johnston

(919) 733-5748
Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Brent Jackson

Duplin, Sampson, Johnston

(919) 733-5705
Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Buck Newton

Wilson, Nash, Johnston

(919) 715-3030
Buck.Newton@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Michael Lee

New Hanover

(919) 715-2525
Michael.Lee@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Norm Sanderson

Pamlico, Craven, Carteret

(919) 733-5706
Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net

 

Sen. Bill Cook

Beaufort, Hyde, Dare, Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Gates

(919) 715-8293
Bill.Cook@ncleg.net

 

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