Eminent domain bill clears the House

Cities will still be able to condemn land for streets and public buildings, but they wouldn't be able to do so for economic development purposes.

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Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina governments wouldn't be able to condemn property in order to sell it to a private developer under a bill that passed the House 110-8 Tuesday afternoon. 

Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, said the measure was meant to head off situations like that in the famous Kelo case, in which a Connecticut town took property so it could be developed. 

Cities and counties would still be able to take land for streets, public buildings and the like, McGrady said. Also, utility companies would still be able to condemn right of way for electric lines and water pipes. Those types of public purposes, McGrady said, meet the test for which eminent domain powers were first established. 

"With time, the test has really gotten fuzzy or morphed," he said. The proposed constitutional amendment makes the definition clear in North Carolina. 

The measure passed with overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats. 

"This really solves a problem that folks have faced in the matters of condemnation," said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham. 

The measure now goes to the Senate. If it passes there, it will got to the voters in November 2014.

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