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Eminent Domain & Private Property


Federal law gives government agencies the power of eminent domain over private property using the following guidelines. First, the property is essential for public use. Second, the property owner is provided fair compensation for land deprivation. Finally, seizure of the property involves due process for the former property owner.

In addition to government agencies, there are unique circumstances that provide the power of eminent domain to private agencies under North Carolina law. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 40A-3 lists the qualifying public and private entities, known as “condemnors”, who may absorb private property. The list includes organizations such as corporations, agencies or individuals constructing public works (railroads, public sewage systems, telephone/electric lines, pipelines, public water supplies, etc.). 

However, local agencies (city & county governments) acquire the power of eminent domain for the following purposes: 

  • Opening/widening sidewalks and roads.
  • Building or improving parks/recreation areas. 
  • Improving cemeteries, hospitals or libraries. 
  • Acquiring historical property. 
  • Improving drainage problems or preventing the flow of waterways. 

When a private or public condemnor obtains private property, the expropriation must meet a specified public need.

Just Compensation for Private Property 

North Carolina law determines just compensation for a property owner facing land condemnation and expropriation through eminent domain.

Under NC. Gen. Stat. § 40A-63, compensation is determined by the property’s market value immediately prior to filing the eminent domain petition. However, if only a portion of the tract is taken or used, the property owner is to receive as compensation the greater of the fair market value of the property taken or the difference between the property value prior to and after the taking. 

Thus, it is important to find an eminent domain attorney who ensures your compensation is just and properly calculated.

Raleigh, N.C. Eminent Domain Attorneys 

Consulting a Raleigh eminent domain attorney as quickly as possible can help ensure the protection of your rights. Further, an attorney can help determine the value of your property for maximum compensation.

If you feel as if you have been appropriated against by the law or your property has been inadequately assessed and you have not been compensated correctly, Maginnis Law’s eminent domain attorneys would like to speak with you. You can contact our firm’s eminent domain attorneys by phone at 919.526.0450 or by email at