Residents on Buck Jones Road could owe Raleigh thousands for road project

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Neighbors along a busy Raleigh street are questioning why they will owe money for a recent city project.

Buck Jones Road used to be two lanes until a recent project transformed the aging roadway.

In 2016, taxpayers paid for it to be widened with a turning lane. Sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs and gutters, have been added. A newly installed roundabout controls traffic at its intersection with Bashford Road.

“The good side is people are out walking and it’s become more of a neighborhood,” said resident Shannyn King.

For some though – it hasn’t all been good.

To widen the road, the city took over neighbors’ property.

“We didn’t know about it when we first moved here, it was sort of hidden in the seller’s disclosure and we found out about it the hard way,” said King.

King and other neighbors said the city paid around $10,000 for parts of their property.

However, the city also told them they’d owe money back once the project was finished.

It wrapped up about a year ago.

“It doesn’t make any sense at all. I’ve never heard about anything like this,” said King.

A letter to property owners in 2013 says their property would be assessed once the project finished.

The letter states property owners will be charged $32 for every foot at the front of the property that’s next to the improvements.

In King’s case, the total is nearly $5,000.

“It was kind of a sticker shock,” she said.

Now they’re waiting to find out when and how they’ll be charged.

“I don’t think people should be getting a bill for having our land taken away and our road made what feels like what’s more dangerous than it used to be,” said neighbor Eric Hall.

Neighbors tell CBS 17 the improvements have created new problems like speeding and otherwise unsafe drivers.

“I’m waiting on a head-on collision. I really am,” said Hall.

CBS 17 reached out to the City to find out exactly why people are going to be charged and when.

CBS 17’s Bridget Chapman also reached out about the traffic concerns.

The City confirmed the project is subject to assessments per directing resolution no. 2013 – 825 from 2013.

A City spokesperson said council changed the City’s street improvement assessment policy last year to exempt from assessments those roadway projects which are City-initiated (i.e. not petition-driven).

A City spokesperson said this is one of the last city-initiated projects where there will be assessments and the public hearing to confirm those final assessments has not been scheduled.

The contractor for the project is still responsible for a two-year maintenance plan after Nov. 1, 2018 before the final payment will be issued, Raleigh said.

After Nov. 1, 2020, staff will gather information to prepare the final assessment roll for this project.

Then staff would seek City Council authorization for the public hearing before holding the hearing to confirm the assessment roll.  

CBS 17 working to get more answers and will update this story as it develops.

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