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Developer settles eminent domain claim for $3.1M

Bill Cresenzo//February 22, 2021

Developer settles eminent domain claim for $3.1M

Bill Cresenzo//February 22, 2021


A development company has settled a claim against the North Carolina Department of Transportation for $3.1 million after the DOT cut off highway access to the company’s land in order to build an overpass along a major highway in eastern North Carolina, the company’s attorney reports.


Eric Remington of Ward and Smith in New Bern reports that his client, Cherry Branch Limited Partnership, acquired 44 acres along N.C. 70 in Havelock in the 1990s as part of a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service. The USFS had previously granted the DOT a permit, and then later an easement, to develop N.C. 70 through the property, but it reserved the right to enter and exit the property from the highway.

In 2016, the DOT cut off several acres of right-of-way to Cherry Branch’s property on either side of U.S. 70 to build a bridge across the highway and into USMC Air Station Cherry Point. Remington said the DOT failed to include Cherry Branch’s land in the description of the areas being taken and claimed that N.C. 70 was a controlled access road prior to the taking and Cherry Branch had no right to access it from the property. Cherry Branch filed a counterclaim for inverse condemnation.

“We had copies of the permit and easement,” Remington said. “The exchange deed said that the U.S. Forest Service was transferring all rights, interests and title in the property. We believe that meant that any rights the U.S. Forest Service had through the permit and easement were transferred or assigned to Cherry Branch, including but not limited to the direct access rights expressly reserved in the permit.”

After mediation, the parties reached a settlement in January 2020, with the DOT agreeing to pay the $3.1 million and Cherry Branch turning over all of its interests in 18.56 acres it had held.

Follow Bill Cresenzo on Twitter @bcresenzonclw


Amount: $3.1 million

Injuries alleged: Taking of access rights to property

Case Name: Department of Transportation v. Cherry Branch Limited Partnership 

Case number: 16-CVS-1116

Court: Craven County Superior Court

Date of settlement: January 2020

Attorneys for defendant: Eric Remington of Ward and Smith in New Bern

Attorney for plaintiff: North Carolina Department of Justice


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