This is the face of government power, and it is very, very ugly. The Gordons are building their dream home in historic Oakwood in Raleigh. They have the necessary approvals and permits. But now the Board of Adjustment has reversed the approval granted the Gordons by the Historic Development Commission, and the Gordons may have to TEAR DOWN their dream home, a move that could ruin them financially. This is government at its very worst — government that crushes the very people that fund it and which it purports to help.
And the terrible impact of government regulations doesn’t stop there. North Carolina has something called the Map Act. JLF’s Tyler Younts, legal policy analyst, writes in this paper that the Map Act “virtually freezes property development within proposed road corridors by blocking building permit and subdivision applications for up to three years. An official corridor map can encumber and devalue property indefinitely.” Unfortunately, some Forsyth County property owners find themselves in the Map Act’s regulatory crosshairs. Again, the face of government is quite ugly. From Younts’ paper:
A transportation corridor map was established for the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway project in 1997, and the properties of hundreds of Forsyth County residents have been restricted and devalued ever since. The multi-lane highway, traversing 34-miles around the north side of Winston-Salem, is depicted in Figure 2.11 After being delayed for years by environmental lawsuits and a lack of funding for construction, eight property owners brought suit to demand that the NCDOT acquire their properties.
The plaintiffs in the case are currently appealing an adverse lower court decision that had denied them class action certification, which would have allowed them to represent the interests of approximately 800 other affected property owners.
The Northern Beltway plaintiffs complain that their properties are devalued and are practically impossible to sell at reasonable returns with the corridor map clouding their chain of title. They also contend that the hardship acquisition program has been applied unfairly. NCDOT, according to the plaintiffs, inexplicably granted hardship applications to select property owners such as a large church and a junkyard, neither of which provided any documentation of financial difficulty. Yet the plaintiffs’ hardship applications have been denied.
If you don’t think these two examples of government misuse of power are anything you should be concerned about, what will you do, and where will you turn, when it is YOUR property being destroyed and/or devalued?