(a) Any person whose property has been taken by the condemnor by the filing of a complaint containing a declaration of taking, may within the time set forth in G.S. 40A-46 file an answer to the complaint. No answer shall be filed to the declaration of taking and notice of deposit. Said answer shall contain the following:
(1) Such admissions or denials of the allegations of the complaint as are appropriate;
(2) The names and addresses of the persons filing said answer, together with a statement as to their interest in the property taken;
(3) Such affirmative defenses or matters as are pertinent to the action; and
(4) A request that there be a determination of just compensation.
(b) A copy of the answer shall be served on the condemnor provided that failure to serve the answer shall not deprive the answer of its validity. The affirmative allegations of said answer shall be deemed denied. The condemnor may, however, file a reply within 30 days from receipt of a copy of this answer.
(c) The condemnor, within 90 days from the receipt of the answer shall file in the cause a plat of the property taken and such additional area as may be necessary to properly determine the compensation, and a copy thereof shall be mailed to the parties or their attorney; provided, however, the condemnor shall not be required to file a map or plat in less than six months from the date of the filing of the complaint. (1981, c. 919, s. 1.)