JLF Research Archive

Property Rights

(3.06.14) Wrong Way: How the Map Act threatens NC property owners

The North Carolina Map Act virtually freezes property development within proposed road corridors and can encumber and devalue property indefinitely. North Carolina should protect the constitutional property rights of its citizens by repealing or reforming the Map Act.


(9.12.12) Flex Growth: A smarter option for North Carolina communities

In recent years, an increasing number of local governments across the nation and across North Carolina have adopted “Smart Growth” policies. However, North Carolina should look to the future and adopt a flexible growth agenda — Flex Growth. Flex Growth is a market-based system of principles for government land use and development policy, especially at the state and local government levels, based upon the idea that people — and not government bureaucrats and planners — know what is best for themselves.


(5.02.12) Catch Shares: A Potential Tool to Undo a Tragedy of the Commons in NC Fisheries

Declining fish stocks are affecting N.C. fishermen and fishing communities despite the U.S. government spending $70 million a year to bail out failing federally managed fisheries under traditional management systems. Catch shares are a transformative approach to fisheries management that inject property rights into the fisheries to produce a sea change in incentives. Catch shares eliminate race to fish, encourage a more discriminating harvest, and reduce bycatch. Research finds strong links between catch shares and improved economic and biological performance of fisheries and that switching fisheries to catch share systems not only slows their decline but possibly stops (or even reverses) it.


(1.05.12) Compensating NC’s Eugenics Victims: Five Ways North Carolina Can Help Right the Wrong

North Carolina forcibly sterilized approximately 7,600 individuals in the 20th Century as part of its eugenics program. Many eugenics victims are still alive in North Carolina. This report offers five ways that North Carolina should compensate the victims before it is too late.


(7.06.11) North Carolina's Forced-Sterilization Program: A Case for Compensating the Living Victims

When North Carolina lawmakers return to budget work next year, they should consider compensation for more than 2,900 living victims of the state's forced sterilization program.


(1.27.11) Blocking Eminent Domain Abuse in NC: It’s past time for well-crafted constitutional amendment

There is optimism that an eminent domain amendment will pass this upcoming legislative session. This Spotlight explains how to craft the amendment carefully to best protect property owners.


(11.12.10) The First 100 Days: Eleven Action Items for the 2011 Legislative Session

This report highlights eleven action items that North Carolina’s new General Assembly should seek to implement in the first 100 days of the 2011 legislative session. These items touch upon a cross section of public policy areas, including education, economic development, property rights, energy and the environment, health care, the budget, and transparency. We at the John Locke Foundation believe that these items represent straightforward actions that would greatly enhance the liberty and prosperity of North Carolina’s citizens.


(5.11.10) Let the Dogs In: Restaurant Owners, Not the State, Should Decide Whether to Allow Pets

On February 1, 2010, the North Carolina Commission for Public Health published a proposed rule addressing whether pets may be allowed in restaurants. Not unlike the smoking ban, whether pets are allowed in restaurants is a property rights issue.


(3.19.10) Meaningful Annexation Reform: Getting through the smoke and mirrors

The House passed an annexation bill (HB 524) that not only fails to provide real reform, but also makes forced annexation an even greater problem for the 4.1 million North Carolina citizens living in unincorporated areas. Under forced annexation, municipalities may unilaterally force individuals to live in municipalities.


(6.15.09) Seize Property As a Last Resort: Eminent domain bill should protect humans, not just natural habitats

In North Carolina, the government can invoke eminent domain and seize private property even if reasonable alternatives exist to using this power. A recent Senate bill (SB 600) would allow conservation easement holders to challenge takings in court by requiring the government to prove that no prudent and feasible alternatives exist to condemnation of properties encumbered by conservation easements.


(5.05.09) The Smoking Ban Bill: Make no mistake; it's an attack on property rights

Either version (House or Senate) of the smoking ban bill is a major threat to personal freedom and property rights. The Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit smoking in “public places” and “places of employment,” such as restaurants. The House version has the same general prohibition, but it also would include a very narrow exception for businesses that do not serve or allow entry to minors.


(1.22.09) Forced Annexation in N.C.: A question-and-answer guide

Forced annexation is a kind of city-initiated annexation that allows municipalities unilaterally to force citizens living in unincorporated areas into the municipalities.

North Carolina has an extreme annexation law even among states classified by recent studies as forced-annexation states.


(12.16.08) A Blueprint for Annexation Reform

Real reform of the state’s regressive annexation law does not mean getting rid of annexation generally or even city-initiated annexation. However, it should mean getting rid of the practice of forced annexation that allows municipalities to unilaterally force individuals in unincorporated areas to live within the municipalities.


(6.23.08) Ten Myths of the Annexation Process: The truth is, N.C.'s annexation law lets municipalities run wild

The annexation law, despite hollow claims to the contrary, imposes few requirements on municipalities and offers little protection for citizens when it comes to forced annexation.
Municipalities can forcibly annex areas that do not meet density requirements.


(6.13.07) Flawed and Undemocratic: Forced Annexation Is Good for Municipal Leaders, But Bad for the Public

Municipalities legally can acquire unincorporated areas next to their borders without the consent of the residents living in those areas. This process, called forced annexation, was supposed to promote sound urban development in areas that need municipal services. Instead, it has created a system in which cities ignore the areas most in need of annexation. Even worse, forced annexation is undemocratic and has contributed to the exclusion of minorities from municipalities. Forced annexation needs to be eliminated immediately, and significant annexation reform needs to be adopted.


(5.03.07) Eminent Domain in N.C.: The Case for Real Reform

Eminent domain refers to the government’s power to seize private property without the consent of owners. In 2005, the United States Supreme Court, in the now infamous case of Kelo v. City of New London, held that the government could seize private property solely for economic development reasons. This policy report explains why North Carolina Needs a Constitutional Amendment to prevent such takings.


(1.22.07) Wrong Way for a Greenway: Asheboro would place nearly 30 miles of a greenway through citizens’ backyards

Wrong Way for a Greenway: Asheboro would place nearly 30 miles of a greenway through citizens’ backyards


(5.24.06) Your Home Is Their Castle: Ten Simple Ways Government Can Abuse Eminent Domain

Current law does not protect North Carolinians from eminent domain abuse. The state and local governments can seize private property for economic development reasons. However, the potential for eminent domain abuse is far more extensive than these “economic development takings.” From the state’s dangerous urban redevelopment law to the government finding clever ways to seize property for private businesses, North Carolina needs comprehensive protection from eminent domain abuse.


(2.06.06) A Threat to Private Property: N.C.’s Broad and Subjective Urban Redevelopment Law

North Carolina’s Urban Redevelopment Law is a major threat to private property rights. It is so broad that it would permit the government to seize private property that is not blighted and even to take property for economic-development purposes. Any urban redevelopment law should only permit the government to seize private property if it meets a narrow and common sense definition of blight.


(1.06.06) A Model Amendment: Protecting North Carolinians’ property rights

North Carolina needs a constitutional amendment to protect property rights that will contain very specific language. This approach will ensure that courts are unable to undermine the rights that the amendment is designed to protect. The amendment should define key terms such as “public use” and expressly prohibit all takings for private use, including those for economic development purposes.


(10.17.05) Property Rights After Kelo: North Carolina Needs a New Constitutional Amendment

The United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Kelo v. City of New London drastically weakened the property rights of all citizens. North Carolinians can protect themselves by amending the state constitution. An amendment is necessary because state legislation does not provide adequate protection of property rights. All fundamental rights, especially property rights, should be protected in the state’s highest law, the state constitution.


(7.01.01) Missing Rungs II: Manufactured Housing and Homeownership in North Carolina

Homeownership is a vital component to a stable society and a thriving economy. It is a well-known presumption that owning a home gives an individual a stake in his or her society. For example, according to a recent study by scholars at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, homeowners are 10 percent more likely than renters to work to solve local problems. Another consideration is that homeownership is also the most common form of savings for the average working family. A home is typically the largest investment most families have.

By Jonathan C. Jordan and Michael Lowrey


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