Although to some it might seem inherently wrong for the government to take a private citizen’s property and give it to a private entity, that can indeed happen. The United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London, a landmark Supreme Court case in 2005, established the principle which allows the government to take one person’s property and give it to another private entity in order to spur economic development. However, regardless of that principle, the government must still prove that the taking is for “public use.”
It should be noted that the phrase “for private use” in this context refers the conveyance of private land to another private entity for a public use through the means of eminent domain procedure. Regardless of who eventually owns the property, the government must still prove that the taking was for a public use. The Kelo case, mentioned above, states the extent to which the government can go. However, in North Carolina, the government has restricted their ability to take property for private use through the Urban Redevelopment Law.
Even though North Carolina has restricted when the government can take property through the Urban Redevelopment Law, it has still expressly given the power to take private property to certain private entities such as utility companies, railroads, local governments, and other public transportation providers. (Such as but not limited to union bus lines) The courts in North Carolina have generally placed the power of eminent domain in the state government. This means that the state government can authorize certain private entities to use eminent domain to take property.
If a private entity has approached you about taking your land either through negotiations or condemnation, you should consult with a local eminent domain attorney immediately. Here at Chad Brown Law, P.L.L.C., we strive to fight for property owners’ rights regardless of how big or small the opposition is.