Matthew Bryant (JD ’95) featured in Winston-Salem Journal story ‘Forsyth judge to state: Start paying Winston-Salem beltway landowners’

Matthew Bryant (JD ’95) is featured in the following Winston-Salem Journal story, “Forsyth judge to state: Start paying Winston-Salem beltway landowners,” written by Wesley Young and published on Oct. 3, 2016.

A judge in Forsyth County Superior Court on Monday ordered the N.C. Department of Transportation to start compensating the owners of the remaining privately owned properties in the path of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway.

Matthew Bryant, an attorney for the landowners, said that Judge John O. Craig III’s order means that hundreds of beltway landowners will finally get paid for damages they suffered when the state designated their properties as being in the path of the beltway in 1997 and 2008.

“The state took these people’s property,” Bryant said. “They took something from these people, and the Fifth Amendment requires that they be paid just compensation.”

The judge’s action follows a June decision by the N.C. Supreme Court in favor of beltway owners who sued the state claiming inverse condemnation.

It’s not clear yet whether Craig’s order will result in the state buying the properties outright, or whether some other method of determining compensation may be made. The Supreme Court decision said the local court would have to look at the value of properties before and after corridor designation, among other factors.

The state “may ultimately conclude, based on the actual location of the property and the fact that said property will be graded and covered with asphalt, that it only makes sense” to appraise properties for actual purchase, Judge Craig wrote.

Either way, property owners will get their chance to argue for a full buyout later in the process, and can even contest what the state proposes then. And as the state builds future beltway segments, it will of course have to buy the land. It could still be many years, though, before all beltway segments are built.

Read the rest of the story here or contact the author at wyoung@wsjournal.com (336)727-7369 @wyoungWSJ