by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
They’ve waited and waited and waited. We’re talking about the victims of North Carolina’s Map Act. Our Jon Guze urges the N.C. Department of Transportation to “stop dragging its heels and get on with the business of making prompt and full compensation” for these victims of government overreach.
At the John Locke Foundation, we were always highly critical of the Map Act. We argued that it was economically inefficient, unfair to landowners, and unnecessary. We also believed the Map Act was unconstitutional, which is why we supported a group of Forsyth County landowners who challenged it on constitutional grounds. When their case, Kirby v. NCDOT, reached the North Carolina Supreme Court, we filed a friend of the court brief on their behalf, and we were delighted when the Court decided in their favor.
The Court held that, “By recording the corridor maps … which restricted plaintiffs’ rights to improve, develop, and subdivide their property for an indefinite period of time, NCDOT effectuated a taking of fundamental property rights,” and it ordered NCDOT to compensate the plaintiffs for “the loss of these fundamental rights.”
Clear enough, right? Nope.
Despite the Supreme Court’s order, in the 18 months since the Kirby decision was handed down, NCDOT has only compensated a handful of Map Act victims for their losses. Hundreds are still waiting. Many of them have grown old while languishing in Map Act limbo, and some of them—including some of the original Kirby plaintiffs—have died. Instead of making them continue to wait, NCDOT should stop dragging its heels and get on with the business of making prompt and full compensation.
Read the full story of North Carolina’s Map Act here.