Portions of rail corridors held by the North Carolina Department of Transportation in fee simple absolute may be leased by the Department for interim public recreation use provided the following conditions are met:
(1) Before requesting trail use, a sponsoring unit of local government has held a public hearing in accordance with G.S. 143-318.12 and notified the owners of all parcels of land abutting the corridor as shown on the county tax listing of the hearing date, place, and time by first-class mail at the last addresses listed for such owners on the county tax abstracts. A transcript of all public comments presented at the hearing has been sent to the North Carolina Department of Transportation at the time of requesting use of the corridor.
(2) A unit of local government has requested use of the rail corridor or a portion thereof for interim public recreational trail use, and agrees in writing to assume all development costs as well as management, security, and liability responsibilities as defined by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
(3) Adjacent property owners are offered broad voting representation by membership in the organization, if any, that is delegated most immediate responsibility for development and management of the rail-trail by the sponsoring local government.
(4) The North Carolina Department of Transportation has determined that there will not likely be a need to resume active rail service in the leased portion of the rail corridor for at least 10 years.
(5) Any lease or other agreement allowing trail use includes terms for resumption of active rail use which will assure unbroken continuation of the corridor's perpetual use for railroad purposes and interim compatible uses.
(6) Use of the rail corridor or portions thereof as a recreational trail does not interfere with the ultimate transportation purposes of the corridor as determined by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. (1991, c. 751, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014