GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2005

 

 

SESSION LAW 2006-224

HOUSE BILL 1965

 

 

AN ACT to restrict the statutory purposes for which eminent domain may be used by private condemnors, local public condemnors, and other public condemnors, and for Certain Revenue Bond Projects, as recommended by the house select committee on eminent domain powers.

 

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

SECTION 1.  G.S. 40A-1 reads as rewritten:

" 40A-1.  Exclusive provisions.

(a)       Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, it is the intent of the General Assembly that, effective July 1, 2006, the uses set out in G.S. 40A-3 are the exclusive uses for which the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain is granted to private condemnors, local public condemnors, and other public condemnors. Effective July 1, 2006, a local act granting the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain to a private condemnor, local public condemnor, or other public condemnor for a use or purpose other than those granted to it in G.S. 40A-3(a), (b), (b1), or (c) is not effective for that use or purpose. Provided that, any eminent domain action commenced before July 1, 2006, for a use or purpose granted in a local act, may be lawfully completed pursuant to the provisions of that local act. The provisions of this subsection shall not repeal any provision of a local act limiting the purposes for which the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain may be used.

(b)       It is the intent of the General Assembly that the procedures provided by this Chapter shall be the exclusive condemnation procedures to be used in this State by all private condemnors and all local public condemnors. All other provisions in laws, charters, or local acts authorizing the use of other procedures by municipal or county governments or agencies or political subdivisions thereof, or by corporations, associations or other persons are hereby repealed effective January 1, 1982. Provided, that any condemnation proceeding initiated prior to January 1, 1982, may be lawfully completed pursuant to the provisions previously existing.

(c)       This chapter Chapter shall not repeal any provision of a local act enlarging or limiting the purposes for which property may be condemned. Notwithstanding the language of G.S. 40A-3(b), this Chapter also shall not repeal any provision of a local act creating any substantive or procedural requirement or limitation on the authority of a local public condemnor to exercise the power of eminent domain outside of its boundaries."

SECTION 2.  G.S. 40A-3 reads as rewritten:

" 40A-3.  By whom right may be exercised.

(a)       Private Condemnors. - For the public use or benefit, the persons or organizations listed below shall have the power of eminent domain and may acquire by purchase or condemnation property for the stated purposes and other works which are authorized by law.

(1)       Corporations, bodies politic or persons have the power of eminent domain for the construction of railroads, power generating facilities, substations, switching stations, microwave towers, roads, alleys, access railroads, turnpikes, street railroads, plank roads, tramroads, canals, telegraphs, telephones, electric power lines, electric lights, public water supplies, public sewerage systems, flumes, bridges, and pipelines or mains originating in North Carolina for the transportation of petroleum products, coal, gas, limestone or minerals. Land condemned for any liquid pipelines shall:

a.         Not be less than 50 feet nor more than 100 feet in width; and

b.         Comply with the provisions of G.S. 62-190(b).

The width of land condemned for any natural gas pipelines shall not be more than 100 feet.

(2)       School committees or boards of trustees or of directors of any corporation holding title to real estate upon which any private educational institution is situated, have the power of eminent domain in order to obtain a pure and adequate water supply for such institution.

(3)       Franchised motor vehicle carriers or union bus station companies organized by authority of the Utilities Commission, have the power of eminent domain for the purpose of constructing and operating union bus stations: Provided, that this subdivision shall not apply to any city or town having a population of less than 60,000.

(4)       Any railroad company has the power of eminent domain for the purposes of: constructing union depots; maintaining, operating, improving or straightening lines or of altering its location; constructing double tracks; constructing and maintaining new yards and terminal facilities or enlarging its yard or terminal facilities; connecting two of its lines already in operation not more than six miles apart; or constructing an industrial siding.

(5)       A condemnation in fee simple by a State-owned railroad company for the purposes specified in subdivision (4) of this subsection and as provided under G.S. 124-12(2).

The width of land condemned for any single or double track railroad purpose shall be not less than 80 feet nor more than 100 feet, except where the road may run through a town, where it may be of less width, or where there may be deep cuts or high embankments, where it may be of greater width.

No rights granted or acquired under this subsection shall in any way destroy or abridge the rights of the State to regulate or control any railroad company or to regulate foreign corporations doing business in this State. Whenever it is necessary for any railroad company doing business in this State to cross the street or streets in a town or city in order to carry out the orders of the Utilities Commission, to construct an industrial siding, the power is hereby conferred upon such railroad company to occupy such street or streets of any such town or city within the State. Provided, license so to do be first obtained from the board of aldermen, board of commissioners, or other governing authorities of such town or city.

No such condemnor shall be allowed to have condemned to its use, without the consent of the owner, his burial ground, usual dwelling house and yard, kitchen and garden, unless condemnation of such property is expressly authorized by statute.

The power of eminent domain shall be exercised by private condemnors under the procedures of Article 2 of this Chapter.

(b)       Local Public Condemnors - Standard Provision. - For the public use or benefit, the governing body of each municipality or county shall possess the power of eminent domain and may acquire by purchase, gift or condemnation any property, either inside or outside its boundaries, for the following purposes.

(1)       Opening, widening, extending, or improving roads, streets, alleys, and sidewalks. The authority contained in this subsection is in addition to the authority to acquire rights-of-way for streets, sidewalks and highways under Article 9 of Chapter 136. The provisions of this subdivision (1) shall not apply to counties.

(2)       Establishing, extending, enlarging, or improving any of the public enterprises listed in G.S. 160A-311 for cities, or G.S. 153A-274 for counties.

(3)       Establishing, enlarging, or improving parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities.

(4)       Establishing, extending, enlarging, or improving storm sewer and drainage systems and works, or sewer and septic tank lines and systems.

(5)       Establishing, enlarging, or improving hospital facilities, cemeteries, or library facilities.

(6)       Constructing, enlarging, or improving city halls, fire stations, office buildings, courthouse jails and other buildings for use by any department, board, commission or agency.

(7)       Establishing drainage programs and programs to prevent obstructions to the natural flow of streams, creeks and natural water channels or improving drainage facilities. The authority contained in this subdivision is in addition to any authority contained in Chapter 156.

(8)       Acquiring designated historic properties, designated as such before October 1, 1989, or acquiring a designated landmark designated as such on or after October 1, 1989, for which an application has been made for a certificate of appropriateness for demolition, in pursuance of the purposes of G.S. 160A-399.3, Chapter 160A, Article 19, Part 3B, effective until October 1, 1989, or G.S. 160A-400.14, whichever is appropriate.

(9)       Opening, widening, extending, or improving public wharves.

The board of education of any municipality or county or a combined board may exercise the power of eminent domain under this Chapter for purposes authorized by other statutes.Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

The power of eminent domain shall be exercised by local public condemnors under the procedures of Article 3 of this Chapter.

(b1)     Local Public Condemnors - Modified Provision for Certain Localities. - For the public use or benefit, the governing body of each municipality or county shall possess the power of eminent domain and may acquire by purchase, gift or condemnation any property or interest therein, either inside or outside its boundaries, for the following purposes.

(1)       Opening, widening, extending, or improving roads, streets, alleys, and sidewalks. The authority contained in this subsection is in addition to the authority to acquire rights-of-way for streets, sidewalks and highways under Article 9 of Chapter 136. The provisions of this subdivision (1) shall not apply to counties.

(2)       Establishing, extending, enlarging, or improving any of the public enterprises listed in G.S. 160A-311 for cities, or G.S. 153A-274 for counties.

(3)       Establishing, enlarging, or improving parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities.

(4)       Establishing, extending, enlarging, or improving storm sewer and drainage systems and works, or sewer and septic tank lines and systems.

(5)       Establishing, enlarging, or improving hospital facilities, cemeteries, or library facilities.

(6)       Constructing, enlarging, or improving city halls, fire stations, office buildings, courthouse jails and other buildings for use by any department, board, commission or agency.

(7)       Establishing drainage programs and programs to prevent obstructions to the natural flow of streams, creeks and natural water channels or improving drainage facilities. The authority contained in this subdivision is in addition to any authority contained in Chapter 156.

(8)       Acquiring designated historic properties, designated as such before October 1, 1989, or acquiring a designated landmark designated as such on or after October 1, 1989, for which an application has been made for a certificate of appropriateness for demolition, in pursuance of the purposes of G.S. 160A-399.3, Chapter 160A, Article 19, Part 3B, effective until October 1, 1989, or G.S. 160A-400.14, whichever is appropriate.

(9)       Opening, widening, extending, or improving public wharves.

(10)     Engaging in or participating with other governmental entities in acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise building or improving beach erosion control or flood and hurricane protection works, including, but not limited to, the acquisition of any property that may be required as a source for beach renourishment.

(11)     Establishing access for the public to public trust beaches and appurtenant parking areas.

The board of education of any municipality or county or a combined board may exercise the power of eminent domain under this Chapter for purposes authorized by other statutes.Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

The power of eminent domain shall be exercised by local public condemnors under the procedures of Article 3 of this chapter.

This subsection applies only to Carteret and Dare Counties, the Towns of Atlantic Beach, Carolina Beach, Caswell Beach, Emerald Isle, Holden Beach, Indian Beach, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Kure Beach, Nags Head, North Topsail Beach, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Sunset Beach, Surf City, Topsail Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, and the Village of Bald Head Island.

(c)       Other Public Condemnors. - For the public use or benefit, the following political entities shall possess the power of eminent domain and may acquire property by purchase, gift, or condemnation for the stated purposes.

(1)       A sanitary district board established under the provisions of Part 2 of Article 2 of Chapter 130A for the purposes stated in that Part.

(2)       The board of commissioners of a mosquito control district established under the provisions of Part 2 of Article 12 of Chapter 130A for the purposes stated in that Part.

(3)       A hospital authority established under the provisions of Part B of Article 2 of Chapter 131E for the purposes stated in that Part, provided, however, that the provisions of G.S. 131E-24(c) shall continue to apply.

(4)       A watershed improvement district established under the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter 139 for the purposes stated in that Article, provided, however, that the provisions of G.S. 139-38 shall continue to apply.

(5)       A housing authority established under the provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 157 for the purposes of that Article, provided, however, that the provisions of G.S. 157-11 shall continue to apply.

(6)       A corporation as defined in G.S. 157-50 for the purposes of Article 3 of Chapter 157, provided, however, the provisions of G.S. 157-50 shall continue to apply.

(7)       A commission established under the provisions of Article 22 of Chapter 160A for the purposes of that Article.

(8)       An authority created under the provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 162A for the purposes of that Article.

(9)       A district established under the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 162A for the purposes of that Article.

(10)     A district established under the provisions of Article 5 of Chapter 162A for purposes of that Article.

(11)     The board of trustees of a community college established under the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter 115D for the purposes of that Article.

(12)     A district established under the provisions of Article 6 of Chapter 162A for the purposes of that Article.

(13)     A regional public transportation authority established under Article 26 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes for the purposes of that Article.

The power of eminent domain shall be exercised by a public condemnor listed in this subsection under the procedures of Article 3 of this Chapter."

SECTION 2.1.  G.S. 160A-503 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(2a)    'Blighted parcel' shall mean a parcel on which there is a predominance of buildings or improvements (or which is predominantly residential in character), and which, by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, age or obsolescence, inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation, or open spaces, high density of population and overcrowding, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, or the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire and other causes, or any combination of such factors, substantially impairs the sound growth of the community, is conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency and crime, and is detrimental to the public health, safety, morals or welfare; provided, no parcel shall be considered a blighted parcel nor subject to the power of eminent domain, within the meaning of this Article, unless it is determined by the planning commission that the parcel is blighted."

SECTION 2.2.  G.S. 160A-503(2) reads as rewritten:

"(2)      "Blighted area" shall mean an area in which there is a predominance of buildings or improvements (or which is predominantly residential in character), and which, by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, age or obsolescence, inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation, or open spaces, high density of population and overcrowding, unsanitary or unsafe conditions, or the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire and other causes, or any combination of such factors, substantially impairs the sound growth of the community, is conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, infant mortality, juvenile delinquency and crime, and is detrimental to the public health, safety, morals or welfare; provided, no area shall be considered a blighted area nor subject to the power of eminent domain, within the meaning of this Article, unless it is determined by the planning commission that at least two thirds of the number of buildings within the area are of the character described in this subdivision and substantially contribute to the conditions making such area a blighted area; provided that if the power of eminent domain shall be exercised under the provisions of this Article, it may only be exercised to take a blighted parcel as defined in subdivision (2a) of this section, and the property owner or owners or persons having an interest in property shall be entitled to be represented by counsel of their own selection and their reasonable counsel fees fixed by the court, taxed as a part of the costs and paid by the petitioners."

SECTION 2.3.  G.S. 160A-512(6) reads as rewritten:

" 160A-512.  Powers of commission.

A commission shall constitute a public body, corporate and politic, exercising public and essential governmental powers, which powers shall include all powers necessary or appropriate to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this Article, including the following powers in addition to those herein otherwise granted:

(6)       its area of operation, to purchase, obtain options upon, acquire by gift, grant, bequest, devise, eminent domain or otherwise, any real or personal property or any interest therein, together with any improvements thereon, necessary or incidental to a redevelopment project; project, except that eminent domain may only be used to take a blighted parcel; to hold, improve, clear or prepare for redevelopment any such property, and subject to the provisions of G.S. 160A-514, and with the approval of the local governing body sell, exchange, transfer, assign, subdivide, retain for its own use, mortgage, pledge, hypothecate or otherwise encumber or dispose of any real or personal property or any interest therein, either as an entirety to a single "redeveloper" or in parts to several redevelopers; provided that the commission finds that the sale or other transfer of any such part will not be prejudicial to the sale of other parts of the redevelopment area, nor in any other way prejudicial to the realization of the redevelopment plan approved by the governing body; to enter into contracts, either before or after the real property that is the subject of the contract is acquired by the Commission (although disposition of the property is still subject to G.S. 160A-514), with "redevelopers" of property containing covenants, restrictions, and conditions regarding the use of such property for residential, commercial, industrial, recreational purposes or for public purposes in accordance with the redevelopment plan and such other covenants, restrictions and conditions as the commission may deem necessary to prevent a recurrence of blighted areas or to effectuate the purposes of this Article; to make any of the covenants, restrictions or conditions of the foregoing contracts covenants running with the land, and to provide appropriate remedies for any breach of any such covenants or conditions, including the right to terminate such contracts and any interest in the property created pursuant thereto; to borrow money and issue bonds therefor and provide security for bonds; to insure or provide for the insurance of any real or personal property or operations of the commission against any risks or hazards, including the power to pay premiums on any such insurance; and to enter into any contracts necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Article;

"

SECTION 2.4.  G.S. 160A-515 reads as rewritten:

" 160A-515.  Eminent domain.

The commission may exercise the right of eminent domain in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 40A. 40A, but only where the property to be taken is a blighted parcel."

SECTION 3.  G.S. 159-83(a)(1) reads as rewritten:

"(1)      To acquire by gift, purchase, or exercise of the power of eminent domain or to construct, reconstruct, improve, maintain, better, extend, and operate, one or more revenue bond projects or any portion thereof without regard to location within or without its boundaries, upon determination (i) in the case of the State, by the Council of State and (ii) in the case of a municipality, by resolution of the governing board that a location wholly or partially outside its boundaries is necessary and in the public interest. The authority to exercise the power of eminent domain granted in this subdivision shall not apply to economic development projects described in G.S. 159-81(3)m., unless revenue bonds for the economic development project were approved by the Local Government Commission pursuant to G.S. 159-87 prior to July 1, 2006."

SECTION 4.  This act becomes effective July 1, 2006.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 25th day of July, 2006.

 

 

                                                                    s/ Beverly E. Perdue

                                                                         President of the Senate

 

 

                                                                    s/ James B. Black

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives

 

 

                                                                    s/ Michael F. Easley

                                                                         Governor

 

 

Approved 3:38 p.m. this 10th day of August, 2006