Long-Delayed Military Cutoff Extension Leaves Property Owners With Questions, Concerns of Lost Value

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The NC Eminent Domain Law Firm will host a meeting for property owners on Thurs, 6/25/15, to explain property owners’ rights and possible “second check.” Seminar comes amid judicial challenge to NCDOT’s practices.

“Homeowners receive a very official offer and think that is the ‘law’ for what they are able to receive,” Campbell said. “If an offer has been made, there may be a more complete and satisfactory offer to be gained through reappraisal and negotiations.”

The Military Cutoff Road Extension, a road project affecting more than 150 property owners, is finally slated to move forward after years of shifting plans and delays.

However, the offers some property owners receive from state officials may amount to far less than what their property is worth, according to former NCDOT attorneys at the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm. Rather than accepting these offers, owners may want to exercise often-misunderstood rights, including the ability to negotiate for a “second check.”

A seminar on Thursday evening, June 25, at 7PM at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Wilmington/Mayfaire will explore property owners’ rights at no cost to participants (more below).

Lengthy Limbo

As reported by the Wilmington StarNews (October 22, 2014) the Military Cutoff project’s lengthy due diligence period has led to an inflated price tag and many home and property owners are wondering when they will finally have closure. Estimates put the project at $112 million.

"In the case of the Military Cutoff Road project, we’ve seen home, property and business owners left wondering for more than a decade how much of their property would be taken,” said Jason Campbell, an attorney with the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm and former NCDOT attorney. “With a final plan in place, it is time for these owners to get a fair price for their hard-earned homes and businesses.

In Winston-Salem, the NC Court of Appeals recently found an indefinite reservation of property by the NCDOT to be essentially the same as seizing land without paying for it. The court restricted NCDOT’s power allowing property owners to have a better position in negotiating for the fair value of their land (Raleigh News & Observer, February 17, 2015)(COA14-184, Kirby v. NCDOT).

New Hanover property owners in the path of the Military Cutoff Road Extension will soon receive purchase offers from state officials. According to Campbell, property owners should be careful – a project that’s taken decades to get underway can spare a few moments to ensure citizens get a fair shake.

“Homeowners receive a very official offer and think that is the ‘law’ for what they are able to receive,” Campbell said. “If an offer has been made, there may be a more complete and satisfactory offer to be gained through reappraisal and negotiations.”

“Second Check”
By North Carolina law, property owners whose land or businesses are targeted for acquisition ultimately receive an offer from the state. If the owner chooses not to accept the offer and takes no further steps, the state will still acquire the land and deposit the amount of the original offer with the County Clerk for the owner.

This is where the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm’s “second check” approach comes in. In most cases, the property owner is then free to pursue a better, fairer arrangement, without losing the first offer.

If continued negotiations do not change the offer, the owner still has the first offer. But if continued negotiations are successful, the property owner will receive a “second” check in addition to the first offer.

“We hate it when we see property owners get less money than they should, simply because they didn’t know the full extent of their rights,” said Stan Abrams, also a former NCDOT attorney with the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm.

The NC Eminent Domain Law Firm will host a free informational session on Thursday, June 25th to answer property and business owners’ key questions. Those questions typically include:

  • How will the value of my property be calculated?
  • Can I assume the offer for my property is fair?
  • How is fair-market value determined?
  • What if I lease space? Will there be allowances to move my business?
  • Should I get my own appraisal?

For more information about the meetings, please call the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm at 1-877-393-4990.

About:
A division of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm is dedicated solely to representing property owners throughout North Carolina, who may be impacted by eminent domain law. The NC Eminent Domain Law Firm is led by attorneys Stan Abrams and Jason Campbell, both of whom previously worked as Assistant Attorney Generals for the North Carolina Department of Justice in the Transportation Section, where they litigated condemnation cases for the NCDOT. They have over 20 years of combined experience working exclusively on eminent domain cases. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has the legal resources of 35 attorneys and is based in Durham, North Carolina, with offices throughout the state to serve its clients.

Contact Information:
Stan Abrams
1-877-393-4990
NC Eminent Domain Law Firm
280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, North Carolina 27701

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Stan Abrans
@NCEminentDomain
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