INITIAL CONTACT BY NCDOT
What you need to know
NCDOT places a great emphasis on the initial contact with property owners as a tool to negotiate a quick settlement of the taking. In this regard, NCDOT policy states that the “primary aim of negotiating should be to develop trust, mutual respect, and rapport with the property owner so that acquisition may be amicably completed.” This is accomplished through contact made by the Right of Way Agent.
During this process, you can expect to receive the following information from the Right of Way Agent:
- An explanation of the necessity for the project and how it fits into the overall highway system.
- An explanation of how the property will be affected along with copies of the plan sheets of the project.
- Advising the property owner of the acquisition procedure and how NCDOT intends to pay just compensation for the taking.
- The Right of Way Agent will present the property owner with a Legal Rights Brochure.
- The Right of Way Agent will explain the Relocation Assistance program.
- The appraisal process and the ability of the owner to meet with the government’s appraiser to point out all elements of damage that should be considered.
- An explanation of which improvements are included in the taking (e.g. buildings, storage tanks, trees, shrubbery, fences, parking)
- An inventory of equipment affected by the taking to determine if any of the items identified qualify as a trade fixture (personal property) that may be removed by the owner.
On the initial contact, the NCDOT agent should present the property owner with a Legal Rights Brochure. The brochure contains items which explain the legal rights of the owner and provide an overview of the acquisition process.