Carolina Mills, Inc. v. Catawba County Bd. of Ed.

Citation27 N.C.App. 524,219 S.E.2d 509
Decision Date19 November 1975
Docket NumberNo. 7525DC509,7525DC509
CourtNorth Carolina Court of Appeals
PartiesCAROLINA MILLS, INC., et al. v. CATAWBA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION.

Cagle & Houck by Joe N. Cagle, Hickory, for plaintiffs.

Sigmon & Sigmon by W. Gene Sigmon, Newton, for defendant.

BROCK, Chief Judge.

This appeal presents the question of whether a board of education which purchases property for a valid school purpose pursuant to G.S. 115--125 can be enjoined to comply with restrictive covenants requiring that the property be used exclusively for residential purposes.

In Raleigh v. Edwards, 235 N.C. 671, 71 S.E.2d 396 (1952), the City of Raleigh instituted condemnation proceedings to acquire a tract of land in a residential subdivision to serve as the site for an elevated water storage tank. The plaintiffs, adjoining property owners, brought an action to recover damages for the City's breach of restrictive covenants limiting the property to residential use. The Court held that the City's violation of the restrictive covenants constituted a taking of vested property interests for which the owners were entitled to compensation commensurate with any loss they sustained. Although the issue was not directly before the Court, it is clear that injunctive relief to enforce the covenants was not available to plaintiffs. 'It is true that such other landowners may not enforce the restrictions against the condemnor, but they are nonetheless entitled to an award of compensation 'where, through the exercise of the power of eminent domain, there is a taking or damaging of such property rights . . ..' (citations omitted)' (emphasis supplied) Raleigh v. Edwards, supra. Indeed, the issuance of an injunction to compel a condemning authority to comply with restrictive covenants would defy the concept of eminent domain. By definition eminent domain represents the power of the state to acquire all private property rights for a public purpose, subject only to the requirement of fair compensation. This power, when exercised properly according to law, cannot be restricted by injunctive relief to enforce covenants binding on the condemned property. As a general rule the party whose property rights are damaged or taken by the condemning authority is entitled to an action to recover damages.

Plaintiffs attempt to distinguish the present case from Raleigh v. Edwards by focusing on the manner in which the property was acquired by the Board. Here, the Board acquired the property by purchase rather than by condemnation; as a result, plaintiffs argue that the Board is subject to the restrictive covenants as a private purchaser would be. This argument fails to grasp the full legal effect of the Board's action. Title to the property was purchased by the Board pursuant to G.S. 115--125, which authorizes the Board to acquire property for school sites and related school purposes by purchase, gift, and, if necessary, by condemnation:...

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3 cases
  • Century Communications, Inc. v. Housing Authority of City of Wilson, 368PA84
    • United States
    • North Carolina Supreme Court
    • February 27, 1985
    ...if any, plaintiff is entitled because of defendant's inverse condemnation of its property rights. Cf. Mills, Inc. v. Board of Education, 27 N.C.App. 524, 219 S.E.2d 509 (1975) (damages constitute appropriate remedy for taking of negative easements created by language of ...
  • Dible v. City of Lafayette
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1999
    ...the restrictions of the covenant, there is a taking that entitles the owners to compensation. See Carolina Mills v. Catawba County Bd. of Educ., 27 N.C.App. 524, 219 S.E.2d 509, 511 (1975) (enforcing a restrictive covenant against condemning authority would defeat the purpose of eminent dom......
  • Jensen v. City of New Albany
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • June 15, 2007
    ...covenant against a condemning authority would defeat the purpose of eminent domain. Id. (citing Carolina Mills v. Catawba County Bd. of Educ., 27 N.C.App. 524, 219 S.E.2d 509, 511 (1975)). The lesson of Dible is that when a condemning authority acquires land encumbered by a restriction on i......

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