This past week the N.C. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited opinion in which basic property rights prevailed over a state agency with seemingly unlimited authority. The case is High Rock Lake Partners v. NCDOT.  Justice Paul Newby’s concise opinion is easy to follow and worth the read.

 The Facts

             High Rock Lake Partners’ predecessor

            A recent Court of Appeals case (High Rock Lake Partners v. NCDOT) illustrates the vulnerable position property owners can find themselves in when dealing with railroads – who answer seemingly to nobody – and the NCDOT, whose statutory powers are expansive, broadly defined, and not subject to easily available or enumerated limitations.

 The

            From the earliest years of the 1900s to World War II, American cities spent increasing percentages of their annual budgets accommodating automobiles on street systems designed for horses, carriages and pedestrians.

            When the war was over, our infatuation with cars and cheap gas led us to build more and more highways to connect us with