Proposed Law Would Protect Private Property From State Projects

Proposed Law Would Protect Private Property From State Projects

8:13pm Mar 16, 2015
Attorney Matthew Bryant (a member of the firm Hendrick Bryant Nerhood Sanders & Otis, L.L.P in Winston-Salem), looks at a map of the proposed 34-mile stretch of the Winston-Salem Beltway. The project impacts more than 2,000 properties.
Keri Brown

Local lawmakers plan to introduce legislation Tuesday to get rid of the Map Act, which allows the state to designate highway corridors and limit property rights in the path of future roadways.

Republican Representatives Debra Conrad and Donny Lambeth of Forysth County are among a group leading the effort.

This comes after a recent court of appeals decision surrounding the Winston-Salem Urban Loop. It says the North Carolina Department of Transportation must pay property owners, even though work on the beltway in their neighborhoods could be years away.

Attorney Matthew Bryant represents nearly 80 plaintiffs. He met with them Monday at the Reynolda Branch Library to discuss the latest developments.

Bryant says the project has been devastating for these property owners and it’s also impacted the larger community.  

“We have 90 year-old widows, people who have waited for 20 years. The state has changed the characters of entire sections of Forsyth County,” says Bryant. “This has been a huge negative for the county because tax revenues aren’t collected on these properties, people don’t spend in these areas, there’s no appreciation in tax value.”

The DOT could still appeal the ruling to the state supreme court. The deadline for that is next Tuesday. But Bryant says he’s confident the decision will stand. He says the longer property owners have to wait in limbo, the more it will end up costing the state.

“This could be even more costly for the state if it files an appeal with the State Supreme Court. If the court says the state is wrong, this is an inordinately expensive delay for the state because every day there is a delay, the DOT will owe eight percent interest to property owners. That can add up,” says Bryant.

Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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