Last week, we told you about the N.C. Supreme Court case Kirby v. NC DOT, case that will determine whether the NC government has the right to legally take land from property owners just because they might want to build a road on the land sometime in the future. (Read that blog here: http://www.nclandlawyer.com/blog/uncategorized/nc-supreme-court-to-rule-on-unfair-property-taking-by-nc-dot)
A story and terrific video on WBTV.com provides more details about the case:
Property owners across the state “including in Cleveland, Forsyth, Wake and Cumberland counties” have had their land effectively frozen by corridor maps for projects yet to be build.
“To go almost 20 years with no action, no highway build,” [property owner Michael] Price said outside of the state Supreme Court in February. “My property was taken, I cannot sell it, it’s unsellable.”
What’s new (and a bit unsavory) in the story is that the NC DOT did not rely solely on the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office to defend against the nearly 300 individual property owners who have filed suit to be released from the unfair hold on their land. Instead, they hired four private law firms. According to WBTV, as of January 2016, the state paid those private firms more than $850,000. That’s tax payer money that didn’t have to be paid.
Should the NC Supreme Court rule in favor of property owners, like the dozens of our own clients, this huge expenditure by the NC DOT will seem even more wasteful. We believe that the NC DOT is in the wrong to tie up property owners’ land for some mythological future road, and we believe that the NC DOT is wrong to waste taxpayer dollars fighting these lawsuits, keeping taxpayers tied up in expensive and misguided litigation.