Three small properties line the south side of N. Highland Lake Road just east of the railroad tracks. These three houses are modest in size and price, with living areas ranging from 832 to 1,104 square feet.
What will happen to these properties, especially their front yards, if the N. Highland Lake Road project moves forward?
Based on information from NCDOT, the current road project includes constructing a sidewalk along the front of these three properties (see map above). This construction requires grading.
Starting with house on the corner of N. Highland Lake Road and James Street (lot size 0.3 acres), based on information from NCDOT, there are a couple of trees close to the road that would need to be cut to make room for the sidewalk.
At the next house (lot size 0.38 acres), there are two trees in front that would be close to the grading limits (shown as the dashed red line on the plans) and may have to be cut.
From this house down to the front of the third house (lot size 1.04 acres), a guardrail (shown in orange) is proposed to be installed behind the sidewalk along certain parts.
Existing NCDOT right of way is 30 feet from the center of the road on each side (on the map, this is a gray line, hard to see, along the front of the area shaded in green). The sidewalk/guardrail is in NCDOT’s right of way, but new temporary construction easements would have to be acquired for the grading work needed to build the proposed changes (orange line with ‘E’). Temporary construction easements allow for the storage of heavy equipment, which has the potential to cause significant damage to these yards.
And where does this new sidewalk go? It’s another sidewalk to nowhere–at least for now. It runs across the railroad tracks and ends on the south side of the intersection of N. Highland Lake Road and Highland Golf Drive. According to NCDOT, there is a presumption that there will be a crosswalk at or near Highland Golf Drive, but the exact location has not yet been determined.
And these three properties? They will:
- Lose trees that protect their view and privacy
- Have a sidewalk and guardrail running on front of their houses
- Lose the use of their own front yards
- For the two smaller properties, lose a significant amount of their land
Taking private property for a nonessential purpose robs the property owner of their property, their privacy, and their ability to use their land as they see fit.