Eminent domain is one of the most powerful tools of government. It allows state and local governments to force the sale of private land for anything deemed of public use or benefit. In return, however, the state is required to pay just compensation.
North Carolina is one of 13 states that allow its Department of Transportation to effectively control private property that may be turned into a road. This means that just compensation may take years, or in some cases, decades. Part 2 of our series, The State's Domain, examines what's known as the Map Act.