Council members adopted a resolution at last week’s town council meeting that would allow staff to use 11 property owners’ land to start the Buffaloe Roads sidewalk project.
The resolution will involve acquiring drainage and construction easements from the 11 owners. Five of the owners will have both done, and the rest will have one done. They will receive compensation from the town.
The amount of land that will be acquired is a few hundred square feet for the drainage easements and a number of feet along the road frontage for temporary construction easement, said town attorney Bill Anderson.
Anderson said not all homeowners have contacted the town yet after a notice was sent out.
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“We have had three homeowners contact us within the last few days that are agreeable to the numbers that we have proposed and we expect after a few do that and they talk to the neighbors we expect to get a number more in the next few weeks,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the goal is to talk more about the project in late May, which is currently delayed because of the City of Raleigh’s sewer line project on the north side of Buffaloe Road.
According to the resolution, a 30-day notice would be issued May 29, of “the intention to obtain property by eminent domain to such property owners as is necessary.”
June 30 would be the deadline for property owners to reply.
“Hopefully we will have gotten most of them acquired based on these numbers by that time,” Anderson told the town council. “And if not we will have to consider whether we need to give the 30-day notice of intent for condemnation and if so whether we’ll need to prepare any condemnations before we get through.”
Anderson said through his experience in sidewalk and sewer easements there have always a few people who wait until the last minute to make up their minds, and one or two people whom they have to file condemnation on.
The money that the town would compensate residents ranges between $61 and $641, depending on the amount of land that is being used.
Council member Buck Kennedy asked if there was a possibility to revisit the amount of pay.
“Across the board it’s a fair deal,” Anderson said. “My theory on these things is to try to treat people equally.”
He said if a tree or bush is being taken out by the easement, then the homeowner would be compensated for that.
The Buffaloe Road sidewalks project was approved in the $14.56 million streets and sidewalks bond. Residents had expressed need for additional sidewalks through the community to improve accessibility and safety.