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Right-of-Way Acquisition & Condemnation

Overview

Attorneys at Smith Anderson offer beginning-to end-representation in right-of-way acquisition projects for condemnors (including public and private utility companies, towns/cities/municipalities and other governmental authorities and entities), and we work with these organizations as a part of their project team through day-to-day support on large projects, as well as handling matters involving single properties. Having been involved in hundreds of eminent domain and condemnation actions, our lawyers understand the intricacies of the condemnation procedure under N.C.G.S. Chapter 40A and N.C.G.S. Chapter 163.

We have obtained invaluable experience in other utility-related areas with real estate issues, such as encroachment removal, easement enforcement and other asset protection issues; responding to North Carolina Utilities Commission property-related inquiries; construction; railroad and road crossing; boundary disputes; shoreline management; and the leasing, purchase and/or sale of fee-owned property. 

Environmental liabilities also frequently arise in the course of utility-related real estate transactions. We work with utility company clients to develop acceptable risk mitigation protocols, as well as to negotiate agreements that protect our clients from potential environmental liability. We regularly work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, the State Property Office and other state agencies and local governments throughout North Carolina, as well as with a network of local counsel throughout the state.

Leaders in Real Estate Development Law

For seven consecutive years, “Best Law Firms” published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® has recognized Smith Anderson in the category of Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, and the firm is also consistently recognized as a leader in real estate development law by leading ranking publications including, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America®, North Carolina Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation and Martindale-Hubbell®.

Experience

Experience

  • Ongoing representation as primary real estate counsel on a day-to-day basis for all major North Carolina public utility companies, including commercial real estate transactions, easement acquisition/condemnation, encroachment agreements and removal, title and boundary disputes and real estate litigation.
  • Represented the largest electric power company in the U.S. in right-of-way negotiations, acquisitions and condemnations for numerous transmission and distribution line projects constituting of hundreds of miles of right-of-way through residential, commercial, agricultural, estate lot, industrial and government-owned properties in over 30 counties.
  • Represented a natural gas distribution company in easement acquisitions and condemnations for projects totaling over 500 miles, including acquiring 140 miles of pipeline easements (over 650 parcels) in 6 counties in a span of only 8 months. Representation included overseeing title work; drafting form documents; negotiating easements and damage claims with landowners; researching and analyzing right of way and other land use issues; and handling all condemnation actions.
  • Oversaw land acquisition activities during construction of the U.S./Canadian Iroquois Gas Transmission System pipeline across over 1,200 parcels throughout New York and Connecticut.
  • Represented a natural gas company in right-of-way acquisition and condemnations for approximately 500 miles of natural gas pipeline in 22 counties in eastern North Carolina affecting thousands of parcels. This representation included drafting all form documents; negotiating specific easements, valve site deeds, and damage claims with landowners; researching and analyzing rights-of-way and other land use issues; and handling all condemnation actions for the more than six-year long project.
  • Represented the largest electric power company in the U.S. in purchasing and selling millions of dollars of fee-owned property throughout the Carolinas.
  • Represented the largest electric power company in the U.S. and a natural gas company in numerous right-of-way reclamation and encroachment removal projects.
  • Represented a municipality in acquiring rights-of-way for water and sewer expansion projects.
  • Represented large utility provider in easement acquisitions, fee acquisitions, and condemnations for projects consisting of over 170 parcels in three counties in North Carolina.
  • Represented utility company in connection with the acquisition of right-of-way over land subject to conservation easements in North Carolina.
  • Represent large utility provider with fee acquisition of land in North Carolina for various energy projects.

Services

Services

  • Negotiation of purchase and sale agreements, easements, encroachment agreements, and title and boundary disputes
  • Eminent domain / condemnation actions
  • Working with surveyors and appraisers, and analysis of surveys and appraisals
  • Title work of a scope appropriate for the project, including locating missing landowners and analyzing heir-owned property to determine ownership
  • Creating form documents for standard and project-specific uses
  • Rezoning, permitting, subdivision, special use permitting, and other land use and zoning issues
  • Pre-condemnation risk analysis and project planning
  • Actions for injunctive relief relating to the removal of encroachments and preventing landowners from interfering with the exercise of easement and other land rights by utility companies
  • Appeals of eminent domain/condemnation, boundary dispute, encroachment, and title dispute actions and other matters involving utility company property rights
  • Alternative dispute resolution (mediation and arbitration)

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