Attorneys hired as route cuts into properties
Construction of the Monroe Bypass isn’t a happy thought for 46-year-old Indian Trail resident Joy McGuire. An estimated 65 feet will be taken out of her front lawn for right of way and construction, with a median preventing her from turning left from her driveway.
“That’s a little scary to me,” McGuire said. “I’m very nervous about it coming so close to my front door. Every year we have wrecks in my front yard anyway, so if that road is there, it makes me nervous.”
McGuire, who’s lived in Indian Trail for 17 years, is also concerned about what will happen to the ministry she runs out of her home, called “With Love from Jesus”. She works with the Red Cross, Crisis Pregnancy Center and Social Services departments from Union, Mecklenburg, Stanley, Gaston and Anson counties to help people in need. McGuire gets referrals from the different agencies when people have a house fire and need clothes or other items.
“It’s like a big Goodwill, people that need something can come here and get it free of charge,” McGuire said. “People drop off donations and then people come with a need.”
McGuire, who lives on Indian Trail-Fairview Road, questions if people will still be willing to come by with donations if they have to maneuver around medians and increased traffic.
“Is it going to cut our donations, I don’t know,” McGuire said. “We’ll also have to worry about a bit of walk-off or hobo traffic. I have nothing against hobos, but they’re not normally walking to my house without me knowing.”
McGuire and five other residents obtained the services of attorney Ann Pilkington with Charlotte based law firm Horack Talley, in order to see what their options were, in terms of where the route goes and how each home will be impacted.
“If I don’t have a lawyer, I don’t have a chance,” McGuire said.
The problem is not just with the route, but also how much her clients will get paid for their property, Pilkington said.
“They think they have to take whatever is offered by the state,” Pilkington, who lives in Stallings, said. “They don’t have to do that, especially in this market where people don’t know what their property is worth.”
Turnpike Authority officials estimate that residents in the affected areas will be contacted over the next 30 days, to discuss purchasing right of way. Speaking Wednesday, Jan. 18 to a crowd at the Indian Trail civic building, North Carolina Turnpike Authority Construction Director Shannon Sweitzer said most of the affected properties have already been identified.
“There are about 75 parcels we have identified to date that we are fairly certain that the project will take the majority of the property,” Sweitzer said. He told residents that officials plan three noise walls along the bypass, with a study currently being done to determine the areas where that’s needed most. If, during the course of the study, officials determine that more walls are needed, they will be added, Sweitzer said. Housing density will play a factor in determining where the walls are needed. He estimated that purchasing right of way will continue through 2013 on the western side of the county. The majority of right of way for the eastern portion of the bypass has already been obtained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“I can’t say at the end of the day everyone (will be) satisfied,” Sweitzer said, adding that officials would be glad to answer questions. The Turnpike Authority also set up a website, www.monroeconnector-bypass.com, with maps detailing the project’s route and also which areas will be impacted by right of way purchases. The Turnpike Authority also has a right of way office set up in Indian Trail, 5419 Indian Trail Fairview Road, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.