NCDOT Settles Controversial Condemnation Case Involving Wetlands
North Carolina Department of Transportation settled a condemnation case in Cumberland County, North Carolina where the State claimed the condemned property had little or no value due to the presence of wetlands. The case involved the taking of land for a new fly-over bridge crossing I-95 and a property fronting on an access road along I-95. The property owner's attorney Mr. Randy S. Gregory of Rand & Gregory, PA, claimed that in fact the taking property exhibited some wetland characteristics, but not enough to be jurisdictional wetlands, even though the State had shown it as jurisdictional wetlands in their permit application to the US Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Gregory also claimed that a large portion of the remainder property had been damaged by NCDOT, due to the fact that before the taking is was close to being wetlands, that the State failed to provide adequate surface and subsurface drainage along the new roadway, and that the States' failure had caused an increase in the water table rendering it to become wetlands after the taking.
Dr. Barrett L. Kays, Soil and Groundwater Scientist of Landis, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, and Tom J. Keith, Appraiser of Tom Keith & Associates, Inc., Fayetteville, North Carolina served as experts in the case for the property owners. The case settled prior to completion of all the evidence with the State increasing their pretrial monetary offer by approximately 400 percent.