News: Quick Takes

Bill to repeal Map Act needs Senate approval or moratorium will end

The clock is ticking on repealing the Map Act.

July 1 is when a moratorium on the Map Act expires. House Bill 131 would formally do away with the state’s Transportation Corridor Official Map Act. The bill has passed the House, in a unanimous vote, so all that’s left is for the bill to pass the Senate and get the governor’s signature before the deadline.

On June 5 the bill cleared the Senate Transportation Committee and now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.

“We need to get this moved and signed by the governor so the Map Act is finally put to bed and no longer exists,” Rep. Debra Conrad, R-Forsyth said, per the NC Insider.

The Transportation Corridor Official Map Act was enacted in 1987. Through the Map Act, the N.C. Department of Transportation was able to freeze development on properties within a highway corridor. The idea was to keep costs down until the NCDOT would buy the property, but in several cases the purchase took decades.

Hundreds of property owners who found their land in Map Act corridors sued the transportation department for essentially taking their property without proper compensation. But the DOT argued the restrictions were temporary and no actual takings occurred.

The N.C. Supreme Court disagreed. In Kirby v. NCDOT, the court ruled property under the Map Act amounted to a taking, and just compensation was due. Despite the court ruling, payments have been slow and property owners have been left waiting for compensation for years.

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2016 rescinding all of the existing corridor maps filed under the Map Act and placed a moratorium on new maps until 2017. The moratorium was extended multiple times but will officially end July 1.