CONCERNING MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION OF RAILROAD CORRIDORS, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE RAILROADS STUDY COMMISSION.
Amends GS 1-44 to clarify that no railroad right-of-way or other real property interest can be presumed to have been conveyed by acts constituting estoppel or waiver.
Amends GS 1-51 to provide that no suit, action, or proceeding may be brought against a railroad (RR) for damages or compensation for right-of-way or use and occupancy of lands by a RR, or for damages caused by railroad construction or repairs, unless the suit, action, or proceeding is commenced within three years (was, five years).
Amends GS 40A-51(a) to clarify that a property owner may also seek compensation for a taking by a RR company under GS 40A-3(a)(4) or by the RR under GS 40A-3(a)(1) (the exercise of eminent domain) where the RR has not filed a declaration of taking.
Amends GS 136-192 to clarify that a railroad’s responsibility to avoid constructing its work in a manner that impedes the passage or transportation of persons or property along roads applies to lawfully established public roads (was, roads).
Enacts new GS 136-199 authorizing RRs to file railroad corridor maps with the Department of Transportation Rail Division. Requires the map to indicate the county recorded book and the page or file number of the deed or legal document conveying the right-of-way. Provides for electronic filing and public web access. Requires that any filed RR corridor maps be conspicuously stamped or marked, “For Informational Purposes Only, Pursuant to GS 136-199,” and identify the owning and operating RR company. Also requires a RR company that files corridor maps to file a notice of the filing of the corridor maps with the register of deeds in the county where the RR property is located. Requires the RR to send a copy of the filed railroad corridor maps to the North Carolina Society of Surveyors.
Amends GS 153A-1 and GS 160A-1 to add a definition for railroad corridor.
Enacts new subsection (a1) to GS 153A-331 (contents and requirements of county subdivision control ordinances) to provide that when a RR company has filed corridor maps, a county subdivision control ordinance may not permit the dedication or reservation of recreation areas or open spaces within any rail corridor unless the applicant seeking dedication or reservation of the area first obtains written consent from the RR company. Provides that the RR has 60 days after receiving the request to either (1) approve, (2) deny with an explanation, or (3) respond with any requirements that the RR company has regarding the request. Provides that failure by the RR company to make a written response within 60 days will be deemed to be approval of the request for written consent unless the RR owns the corridor in fee simple. Allows a subdivision control ordinance, in lieu of obtaining consent from the RR company, to provide an open space credit for acreage subject to a RR easement without public dedication or reservation for the purpose of preserving the RR corridor for future RR use. States that nothing in these provisions is to be construed as altering or affecting the property rights of the RR or adjacent or underlying landowners. Exempts regulated public utilities, as defined, from the statute’s application. Enacts new subsection (a2) to GS 153A-331, which also applies when a RR has filed a corridor map, to direct the applicant to provide the written consent obtained from the RR directly to the county authority. Provides that the county is to be held harmless for reliance upon information submitted by the applicant. Makes the same substantive changes to the following provisions of GS Chapter 153A (applying to counties) and to GS Chapter 160A (applying to cities): GS 153A-340 (grant of power to counties to adopt zoning and development regulation ordinances), GS 160A-296 (establishment and control of streets by cities), GS 160A-372 (contents and requirements of city subdivision control ordinances), and GS 160A-381 (grant of power to cities regarding zoning and development regulation ordinances). Effective October 1, 2011, and applies to actions taken by city or county entities on or after that date.
Enacts new GS 153A-337 (counties) and new GS 160A-368 (cities) to set forth the requirements for access to development within a RR corridor. Provides that when a RR company has filed corridor maps, the local government may not approve any development plan where the sole means of ingress to and egress from the property encroaches on the RR corridor, unless the applicant first obtains written consent from the RR company, following the criteria set forth (substantively the same as above). Provides that, except in regard to railroad crossings, failure by the RR company to make a written response within 60 days will be deemed to be approval of the request for written consent unless the RR owns the corridor in fee simple. Further provides that if the sole means of ingress and egress to a property being developed is over an existing public roadway and does not require additional land within the RR corridor, then the applicant may use the existing public roadway without the RR company’s consent. Prohibits the Department of Transportation from conditioning the approval of any development plan on the applicant making road improvements, if those improvements would fall within the RR corridor and require RR company consent. Effective October 1, 2011, and applies to actions taken by city or county entities on or after that date.
Amends GS 153A-357 (counties) and GS 160A-417 (cities) to address permit requirements under the State Building Code and any other applicable state or local law. Requires the relevant inspection department, before issuing a permit, to verify that the RR company has given written consent for the project. Excepts specified permits. Sets further permitting procedures. Makes technical and clarifying changes. Effective October 1, 2011, and applies to actions taken by city or county entities on or after that date.
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