Stewart, Wald & McCulley
— Steven M. Wald
TRYON, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , September 23, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Stewart, Wald & McCulley, a leading Rails-to-Trails law firm, which successfully represented landowners in cases involving the Laurel Creek Trail and the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway, are back in the Carolinas.
The firm, touting successes in Greenville, South Carolina and Guilford, North Carolina, for rail-trail conversion cases, are now representing landowners arising out of the Saluda Grade Rail Trail conversion. The previous cases involved the Laurel Creek Trail and the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. These cases were called 112 Haywood Rd. v. U.S., Case #15-1036, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands SC v. U.S., Case #18-1248, Fuller v. U.S., Case #21-1366, Takes v. U.S., Case #21-1365, and Fray v. U.S., Case #19-1636 all of which recovered compensation from the federal government.
In the Saluda Grade Trail case, landowners own land located along the 31-mile Saluda Grade railroad corridor from Inman, South Carolina (north of Spartanburg) and continuing through Campobello, Landrum, Tryon, and Saluda, before entering North Carolina and reaching Zirconia (south of Hendersonville). This trail would span 16 miles in South Carolina and 15 miles in North Carolina.
Conserving Carolina reports that the Saluda Grade Trail would be created through the federal railbanking program. The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) is a federal agency that oversees railroads. When railroads under federal jurisdiction express interest to abandon their lines, a trails group may step in to make an offer to purchase the land and convert the railroad corridor to a rail-trail. The process of converting inactive railroad corridors to recreational trails and keeping the corridor intact for future rail use is called “railbanking”.
If the STB permits a trail conversion, which the firm expects to occur in the near term, then this would potentially result in the triggering of a claim for money damages in favor of landowners against the United States government. Whether it takes 1 year or 10 years for the trail design and construction to take place, Stewart, Wald & McCulley have every intention to represent landowners for a taking of their land. Additionally, whether the firm is retained by 1 client or 100 clients, Stewart, Wald & McCulley are committed to representing landowners along the proposed Saluda Grade Rail Trail.
Landowners recently attended meetings at the Tryon Country Club hosted by Stewart, Wald & McCulley. The firm plans to be back in the area for future meetings, as Attorney Steven Wald notes, “educating landowners on their legal rights when it comes to their property along a rail-trail conversion is our number one priority.” Any lawsuit filed on behalf of a landowner is solely against the federal government and does not affect the trail project. Stewart, Wald & McCulley believes there are about 232 potential claimants who are not yet represented.
Steven M. Wald
Stewart, Wald & McCulley
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