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Raleigh homeowners may pay twice for road projects

Posted September 30, 2013

— Next week, Raleigh residents will get the chance to vote on a $75-million transportation bond – the largest bond in city history, which carries with it a one-cent property tax increase. If it passes, some residents say they will have to pay twice for the price of progress.

The proposed bond covers 18 transportation projects, including the widening of Buck Jones Road to three lanes from Farmgate Road to Xebec Way. Bicycle lanes, sidewalks and streetlights would also be added.

Eighty two homeowners and businesses along the road will have to pay the city for planned street improvements. That happens with any major road improvement, so it’s not unique to the bond. However, since the bond includes 14 major road projects, there's a good chance plenty of other residents will get letters from the city telling them to pay up.

Homeowner Phyllis Nunn says she may lose the grand old oaks that sit on her lawn due to the widening of Buck Jones Road. What really irks her, she says, is that she might have to pay for that. A letter from the city to residents along the one-mile stretch of the road explains how the multi-million project will add curbs and sidewalks. It also says the city will assess each homeowner $32 a foot for the improvements.

“It's not a good feeling that you get from the city when, not only are they going to chop up your front yard and bring noisy traffic closer to you, along with pollution, and you may lose your trees, and they're going to make you pay,” Nunn said.

Nunn and other neighbors will have 10 years to pay the assessment once construction is finished, but they say that’s little consolation.

Buck Jones Road Raleigh homeowners may pay twice for road projects

“To me, over $3,000 is not a small amount of change for me, not when I look at my checkbook. It's a large amount of money. It just doesn't seem fair,” said homeowner Barbara Turner. “Bottom line is it’s not right, and it’s not fair.”

A state law passed in 1949 allows municipalities to recoup part of the cost of roadwork. Raleigh Public Works Director Carl Dawson says, in most cases, curbs and gutters are paid for by developers and the cost is passed on to homeowners.

“In Raleigh, we only assess for a portion of the curb and gutter cost,” Dawson said. “In this case, the curb and gutter are not there. Theoretically, they got a lower price for their property because it cost the developer less to build it, and the city is recouping the equity in putting that curb and gutter in.”

The city council plans to hold a public hearing on the Buck Jones Road improvement bond at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers. 

24 Comments

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  • james27613 Oct 2, 6:55 p.m.

    They have mandated sidewalks in my development,
    the concrete started to heave a few years later because of
    tree growth, the roots uplifted the sidewalks.

    They pay a company to come in and grind down the edges of the sidewalks so you don't trip but it will get worse in a few years when it rains and freezes up.

    Sidewalks are a waste of money.

  • Pseudonym Oct 2, 6:19 p.m.

    Quote from Mr. Middle of the Road: "Its a good thing not everyone is not irresponsible."

    This sentence gave me a headache

  • Pseudonym Oct 2, 6:00 p.m.

    VOTE NO BOND!!!!!

  • miseem Oct 1, 5:28 p.m.

    I have mixed feelings about this. If sidewalks and gutters were not required when these houses were built, I don't think that the excuse that developers and builders normally factor this into the price of the house so they are just catching up on a debt will wash. Do any adjoining streets need these "improvements" or are the improvements simply a result of the city widening the street to accommodate traffic that was not there when the houses were built? I can see paying if you are on a dead end dirt road that gets paved. I'm not sure about charging for improvements a street that the city decides needs improvement due to growth outside that area. As far as increasing property value, I'm sure any increase due to sidewalks will be offset by living on a street with more traffic and smaller front yards.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Oct 1, 4:16 p.m.

    This is why you should not vote FASCISTS into office. This is also why I will NEVER live inside any City Limits.
    whatelseisnew

    But I bet you are quick to drive on our roads to use our hospitals, doctors, shopping centers. etc. Its a good thing not everyone is not irresponsible.

  • jcthai Oct 1, 2:40 p.m.

    Tessari1, the city has an easement 10 feet either side of the road. If you expect the city to pay for this, then you are really saying that all residents of the city should pay for this since the city would get the money from taxes. Rather than charge everyone in the city to pay for this improvement, they charge the homeowner since he is the one who presumably will enjoy having a safer street and better place to live. Similar to water and sewer hookups.

  • jcthai Oct 1, 2:37 p.m.

    Oh, cry me a river. Every homeowner who has ever had street improvements built on their property have had to pay this. If you bought a house new, the developer paid it and then charged you in the price of the house. It's called being a member of society. You pay your fair share. If you don't like it move further out into the country. Cities grow. You knew that when you bought the property. Some day, this would happen.

  • babbleon1 Oct 1, 1:42 p.m.

    "Another reason not to live in Raleigh"

    I live in the Buck Jones area and look forward to the expansion. I am perfectly happy to put my $$ to work improving life in the town where I live, instead of handing it over to a fat cat corporation for them to put into overseas investments.

  • babbleon1 Oct 1, 1:39 p.m.

    If they are using the private property of a citizen to do so then the City should be paying the landowner for the usage and improvement. Tessari1

    I thought the city owned the roads + an easement on either side. There is actually a lot of room on the side of the road for additional pavement in some areas, like just below Orchard. Ms. Nunn's oaks are likely to go, though.

  • babbleon1 Oct 1, 1:32 p.m.

    " they got a lower price for their property because it cost the developer less to build it”

    I live in this area, and this is completely accurate. The road widening is badly needed - people walk and bike up that road a lot, and it's dangerous for all involved.

    You know it's bad when you see a *wheelchair* on the road, because that's his only option for two blocks on the way to the grocery store.

    The people who object need to get out and walk more anyway.

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