5 On Your Side

Woman feels hemmed in by road-widening project

Posted June 25, 2008
Updated June 27, 2008

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— The construction dust, mud and noise are bad enough, but you have probably noticed that people who live along roads that are being widened sometimes lose part of their land, too.

When negotiations with property owners don't work out, governments can invoke eminent domain. The law allows municipalities to seize property for public use. The owner of that land is entitled to reasonable compensation, but that is where it can get ugly.

For Jeanette Evans, the Evans Road widening project in Cary is among those unfortunate situations. Evans has lived along the road for the past 40 of her 78 years. The road is even named for her family.

“This is history. You know, our whole house is history. You know, the land they took is history,” Evans' daughter, Gloria Evans, said.

The women are upset that a house that once had a big front yard now has almost no yard, as well as a steep slope.

“One day when I went up to my mailbox, I fell. And thank God, I didn't break anything,” Jeanette Evans said.

The house's driveway was ripped up in November. The Evans are having to use a neighbor's driveway now.

“I can understand the frustration. You know, I can,” said Kyle Hubert, with the Town of Cary Engineering Division.

Hubert is the project manager for the Evans Road widening project. He said that to help Jeanette Evans get to her mailbox, steps and a railing should be finished by the end of this week. As for the driveway, Hubert said that since it turned out steep, the town will create a new driveway from Lake Drive.

The new driveway should be done by the end of July, Hubert said. Until then, the Evans want others to realize that the convenience that widening Evans Road will bring to commuters comes at a big cost to them.

"I know we're not the only ones this affects, but you don't realize how bad it is until it happens to you,” Gloria Evans said.

"Before the project began, the Town of Cary offered to buy Jeanette Evans' property for $142,500. She didn’t want to sell, so, after mediation, both sides agreed to $51,000 in compensation for the land the Town actually took for the road.

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  • jrec32 Jul 4, 2008

    The Evans family (Evans Road) was recognized and celebrated as one of Cary's founding familys during Cary's 100 Year Celebration a few years ago. So it's worth noting (and educating) that the history is by no means in the house, but in the land that has been in the Evans family for 4 generations. The land beside Mrs. Evans and across the street (West Cary Middle School) was once part of the estate the this family held. $142,000 is nothing when you are talking about a legacy

  • delilahk2000 Jun 30, 2008

    Well,I guess my comments are to right on to post.

  • HappyGirl08 Jun 27, 2008

    Well I hate it for her but she probably should have opted to negotiate for a higher price and sold. When the time comes and someone in her family tries to sell that home (and face it, someone will) they will not get 152k for it on that road. I sure as shootin wouldn't buy it.

  • ezrilouwho Jun 27, 2008

    10,000 under total value assessed. That was likely a first offer- she could have negotiated and gotten the total assessment value but she thought she could make a dent in their widening project by her living there for 40 years. Now her historical sentiment has her front door opening to the highway and I would assume an assessed value far less than before.

    Personally I would not want my mother living there like that. I'd tell her history or not, negotiate for a better deal on the property and move. She is more important that the dirt she walks upon or the boards that make up the walls that keep the rain out, She carries her history WITH HER, IN HER HEART. Buildings fall apart because the next generation do not want to live there or are sold off after you die.

    The state did not fail her- In my opinion(and we all have one) her FAMILY failed her by not helping her to make a better choice and supporting her thru the grieving that would accompany her move from her home of 40 years.

  • rrnjmm1999 Jun 27, 2008

    SORRY MY SPELLING IS OFF TODAY, IM TYPING REALLY FAST.....I THINK THEY OFFERED HER WAY MORE THAN THAT LITTLE SHACK WAS WORTH THE FIRST TIME!!

  • rrnjmm1999 Jun 27, 2008

    BOO HOO SHE SHOULS HAVE SOLD THAT SHACK IN THE FORST PLACE AND MADE A KILLING. AND ANOTHER BOO HOO...SHE STILL GOT PAID 51,000...PEOPLE DONT EVEN MAKE THAT IN A YEAR THESE DAYS!! STOP YOUR WHINING!!!!

  • ghimmy51 Jun 26, 2008

    I have been on the lowest level of taking people's land for road use for years. Right of Way acquisition people SHOULD make it clear to property owners what will happen. They can easily get someone from the construction office to help show the bottom of a slope and how tall the "hill" will be directly from the plans. In my case it's usually me doing that at a LATE state of the proceedings and having to act as unofficial agent for those affected. The process is flawed because the project is the only priority ... not one household.

  • beachboater Jun 26, 2008

    Just think of trying to build I-40 buying land from only those wanting to sell? There is no way it could be done. One property owner, maybe just a few acres could kill a project vital to NC. Think about the Raleigh water sources. Falls lake. I'm guessing that is a man made lake and that land had to be taken for that. Where do you stop?

    I agree with someone above, there is no history in that land other than normal family history. I'm sure the lady could have negotiated a settlement of at least the assessed value. How could the town argue that it was not worth the assessed value?

    They can't

  • ArkAngels Jun 26, 2008

    UNC-Born-Bred, I was born and raised in Raleigh although I don't live in Raleigh anymore.

    If the towns were not over building, they would not have the need to take property from the people that have lived there for 40+ years and then give them a meager amount for the land that they have taxed them at a much higher price for over the years.

    Like a friend of mine in Raleigh did one year when her house was re-evaluated, she marched down to the tax office and told them to write her a check for that evaluation amount and she would be on her way.

    I am sure this lady would not have argued as much if they had offered her the amount she had been taxed at. I know if that had been the mayor's house or some other high official they were going to do this to, the town of Cary would have found another way around and left that land alone.

  • Bob Sidel Jun 26, 2008

    "WELCOME TO CARY!!!!

    C - Containment A - Area for R - Relocated Y - Yankees"

    I'm sure those yankees are real disappointed that the natives have contained them in this area, voted as the #1 area to live in the country two years ago.

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