Former NCDOT Attorney Hosts Seminar for Property Owners Impacted by Market Street Widening

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The NC Eminent Domain Law Firm will host a free educational seminar for the more than 150 property owners in the path of the U.S. 17 Business (Market Street) widening. The seminar will take place on Thursday, February 23rd at the Hilton Garden Inn Wilmington, Mayfaire Town Center. Former NCDOT Attorney Stan Abrams will share what property owners need to know about their eminent domain rights, what they might expect from the NCDOT, and how to try to protect against government overreach through certain negotiation strategies.

“During negotiations, the NCDOT has sometimes tried to downplay the harm they will cause the property owners,” NC Eminent Domain Law Firm Attorney Stan Abrams said.

More than 150 New Hanover County property and business owners in Wilmington and the Town of Harnett will be affected by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) plans to widen U.S. 17 Business (Market Street). In response, the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm will offer these owners guidance at a seminar on Thursday, February 23rd at the Hilton Garden Inn, Wilmington Mayfaire Town Center. Stan Abrams, former NCDOT attorney, will host the seminar and share what he and firm colleague Jason Campbell, also a former NCDOT attorney, discovered about negotiation strategies as Attorneys General negotiating for the NCDOT.

This land taking seminar is free and open to the public.

Attendees will learn from this former-NCDOT attorney, how the NCDOT typically negotiates. They will hear about some common mistakes he has seen property owners make and strategies that have helped property owners try to negotiate better deals. These negotiation strategies are designed to try to help property owners maximize the NCDOT’s purchase offer for their property and try to ensure they are treated fairly during the negotiation process.

“During negotiations, the NCDOT has sometimes tried to downplay the harm they will cause the property owners,” Abrams said. “While they aren’t intentionally trying to steal your land, like any buyer, they want to get it as cheaply as possible. The appraisers and negotiators that property owners will be dealing with are hired by the NCDOT. They have done this probably hundreds of times. They know the process, and the right of way agents are experienced negotiators. Yet, the property owners are likely doing this for the first time. They don’t know the process and don’t know how these claims can be negotiated.”

Former NCDOT Attorneys to Share Negotiation Strategies
“In the coming weeks and months, property and business owners will receive official looking offers from the government. Many may think these offers are non-negotiable,” Abrams said. “But just like any other offer from a buyer, they certainly are negotiable. What we’ve learned from having been on the other side of the negotiating table, is that the NCDOT will sometimes stop negotiating even when it is obvious the property is worth more. Just because they stop it, doesn’t mean property owners should.”

Abrams emphasized that NCDOT negotiators are highly experienced. “The NCDOT’s negotiators are trained and backed by experienced state attorneys. What I’ve seen happen is the property owner, not knowing eminent domain law, may base their claim for more compensation on things the NCDOT does not legally have to pay for. Or they may take the NCDOT’s word on what they should get paid. It is similar to an inexperienced person negotiating with Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank. Who do you think is more likely to get the better deal?”

Seminar Focus: Tactics, Common Situations, and Enhanced Project Plans
“Right now, the NCDOT is evaluating property values from Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. to Station Road in Wilmington, and from Lendire Road to Marsh Oaks Drive in the Town of Harnett,” Campbell said. “We want property and business owners to know enough about eminent domain and the process to be able to ask the NCDOT the right questions to learn what is being taken, and then strategize accordingly. It’s not always obvious, and sometimes this information may be buried in the fine print of an appraisal that could easily be 100 pages long.”

The NC Eminent Domain Law Firm says that in eminent domain proceedings, eventually the NCDOT will deposit their offer with the clerk of court. Many property owners accept this offer so they can withdraw it. But according to the firm, in many cases there is a way to withdraw it and continue to negotiate for more money.
A 2015 study by the NC legislature shows that property owners who did this ended up getting 85% more for their property, on average*.

At the seminar, Mr. Abrams will cover strategies such as this one, and address other questions property owners typically have, such as:

The law firm plans to have available for viewing an enhanced NCDOT right-of-way map that uses Google Earth in 3D to show where construction might affect individual properties. They also suggest that attendees bring any offers or plans they have received from the NCDOT.

Property Owners in the Way of U.S. 17 (Market Street) Construction
More than 150 homes and businesses along U.S. 17 Business (Market Street) are in jeopardy of property condemnation to make way for construction. NCDOT documents show more than $12 million has been set aside to pay property owners for these properties.

Land Taking Seminar Date, Time, Location
Date:     Thursday, February 23rd
Time:     7 p.m.
Place:     Hilton Garden Inn
Wilmington Mayfaire Town Center
6745 Rock Spring Road
Wilmington, NC 28405

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

  • Source: NC Legislature (2015), House Bill 127: DOT Condemnation Changes – Fiscal Analysis Memorandum (Section 2). Fiscal Research Division.

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 Attorneys General for the North Carolina Department of Justice in the Transportation Section, where they litigated condemnation cases for the NCDOT. They have over 25 years of combined experience working exclusively on eminent domain cases. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has the legal resources of 38 attorneys and is based in Durham, North Carolina, with 14 offices throughout the state to serve its clients.

Contact Information:
Stan Abrams
NC Eminent Domain Law Firm
517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304

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