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The recent opinions of the North Carolina appellate courts include a strikingly large proportion of eminent-domain cases. Two factors combine to explain the unusual frequency with which these cares are tried and appealed. The first is the elaborate activity of the federal government in funding local and state projects involving the acquisition of land. The Interstate Highway program probably accounts for the predominant portion of this activity, with other shares attributable to urban renewal, public housing, and airport improvement. When the more traditional activities of local government, such as street-widening and other public improvements, are added to the above list eminent domain assumes a major role in the spectrum of litigation in state courts. The second factor explaining the large number of eminent domain cases, and one that probably accounts for many appeals that would not otherwise be taken, is the morass of divergent procedures that may be used by governmental entities in North Carolina to acquire land. The perplexities arising from this lack of procedural uniformity have been previously documented. Because nice questions of procedure that may be litigated on appeal by one condemnor do not necessarily apply in actions brought by other types of governmental units, the law develops slowly and uncertainly, with a good deal of needless expenditure of legal talent and fees.



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