Board settles lawsuits with NCDOT over West End Elementary property

The Moore County Board of Education announced two final judgments entered in settlements resolving a dispute with the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) over its taking of property at West End Elementary School. The Board received $415,000 as compensation for the property taken in the widening of Highway 211 in front of the school.

During the spring of 2022, the Board was approached by NCDOT regarding NCDOT’s plan to take land at West End Elementary School to widen Highway 211 from two to four lanes.

NCDOT needed a total of .966 acres for permanent easements, 1.294 acres for a right of way, and .272 acres for temporary construction easements. This request initiated months-long negotiations between the Board and NCDOT. The Board was very concerned that the widening of the road onto school property and increased traffic would create safety risks, noise and distractions for students and staff. The Board requested compensation from NCDOT to cover the costs of a masonry wall designed for safety and noise mitigation.

When the parties could not reach an agreement, NCDOT filed two condemnation actions in August of 2022, depositing $128,250 for what it considered “just compensation.” Under North Carolina law, once NCDOT filed these condemnation actions and deposited just compensation, the land legally became owned by NCDOT.

The Board chose to contest the amount of compensation, and the parties agreed to mediation, resulting in agreements for a revised total price of $415,000 for the land. This was a 323% increase over NCDOT’s initial deposit for the two parcels of land. That agreement has now been reduced to two consent judgments in Moore County, and final payments have now been received by the Moore County Schools.

“The Board is very pleased with this result, which will allow for the construction of a cost-efficient, reinforced masonry safety barrier and landscaping to enhance the school’s attractiveness and improve safety,” said the school district in a press release. “This will happen once road construction permits. All the money the Board received will be reinvested into West End Elementary School. The Board wants to express its thanks to NCDOT for engaging in mediation in good faith, for reconsidering its initial valuation of the land, and agreeing to properly compensate the Board. To the families and students at West End Elementary School, there will be construction occurring on the highway project during the next few years. We will continue to work with NCDOT during this time to minimize disruptions, especially during school hours.”

Feature photo: Aerial view of West End Elementary School. Photo by Patrick Priest/Sandhills Sentinel.


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