It’s called the Map Act, and as Carolina Journal reports here, North Carolina uses it to freeze property development within proposed road corridors. And here is how it’s impacting Forsyth County property owners.

The poster child for Map Act reform is the 34-mile, multilane Winston-Salem Northern Beltway project. Its transportation corridor map has been in place since 1997, Younts said. The N.C. Supreme Court heard arguments late last year in a lawsuit connected to that project.

“After years of delays linked to environmental lawsuits and lack of construction funding, eight property owners brought suit to demand that DOT acquire their properties,” he said. “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 DOT inexplicably granted hardship applications only to select property owners such as a large church and a junkyard.” 

While the Forsyth County case stands out, the Map Act now affects 24 projects in 18 North Carolina counties, Younts said. “The issue affects hundreds, if not thousands, of property owners across the state.”

Even among the minority of states that apply map act laws, North Carolina’s statute stands out in limiting protections for property owners, Younts said. “The three-year limit for permit delays is much longer than limits employed in any other state. Eleven map act states limit permit delays to no more than one year. In Tennessee, the limit is just 80 days.”

Lawmakers should repeal or amend this law to protect property owners.