In order for the city to build needed public improvements like roads, sidewalks and bus stops
to support local planning initiatives and growth, it is sometimes necessary to acquire private
property. The acquisition of private property for public benefit is governed by federal, state and
local laws to ensure that affected property owners are treated fairly and consistently.
The city's process for acquiring private property for public use can be summarized in seven steps.
For needed projects identified in local capital improvement plans, the city
undertakes an extensive and thorough planning and engineering process that includes community input.
The city uses information from the planning and engineering process to develop final design plans
that indicate if and where private property is needed to construct a public improvement.
A real estate agent representing the city then contacts affected property owners.
The real estate agent explains the project and the impacts to private property.
In most cases only small portions of private property are impacted.
Next, evaluation is prepared to determine fair compensation. There are many accepted
ways of valuing property depending on the complexity of the proposed acquisition.
The valuation typically occurs within 60 days of initial contact from the real estate agent.
The property valuation is based on a variety of factors including the size of the property zoning
location, assessed value and market conditions. For more complex acquisitions, an independent
appraisal may be conducted. Impacts to signage, parking and property improvements are handled
on a case-by-case basis. The real estate agent then presents the property owner a written offer
to purchase the property or property rights. The property owner is given time to review the offer.
If the terms are agreeable, the property owner accepts the offer.
if the property owner is not in agreement with the city's offer to purchase,
they should inform their real estate agent.
The property owner may also make a reasonable counter-offer or obtain their own appraisal. The
goal is for the real estate agent and the property owner to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.
If this goal is not met and the city and property owner cannot reach a mutually
satisfactory agreement, the city can use the power of imminent domain provided by appropriate North
Carolina general statutes if needed. The city will explain the full process to individual
property owners affected after reaching agreement on the offer. The real estate agent presents the
closing paperwork to the property owner. The property owner signs the paperwork and returns
it to the real estate agent. City Council then approves the purchase of the property.
In the final step, the city processes the transaction and mails the property owner a
check. Typically, the property owner will receive a check within six to eight weeks
after City Council approves the purchase. For more information on the real estate process, please
visit the city's real estate acquisition webpage or contact the real estate acquisition manager.