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Man’s opposition to sidewalk prompts delay

A Charlotte man told the City Council Monday that a plan to construct a sidewalk on his property will harm his property’s value.

Larry Brackett, of 5633 Murrayhill Road, told the council that the city’s plan includes digging a 2-foot-deep ditch through his yard and beyond the city’s 10-foot right of way.

He said a neighboring lot drops 2 feet in grade in the area proposed for a sidewalk and that the city should address the grade issues on that property.

“Rather than bringing this property next to mine up to where its level with the curb, they intend to cut my property down to match this property of lesser value,” Brackett said. “That devalues my property, rather than upgrading this single lot that is involved. I would not have bought this property had it had a ditch 2 feet deep with a sidewalk across it 20 years ago.”

Jeff Reid, division manager for the city’s real estate services division, said the modification in topography would have minimal affect on the value of Brackett’s property.

“I can’t speak to the engineering elements of this, but I can tell you the appraisal took into account the changes in topography,” Reid said.

He said the city has provided Brackett with a written assurance that the sidewalk project would not affect his property’s drainage.

“We’ve just not be able to reach an accommodation with him, and he’s unhappy and we’re unable to settle,” Reid said. ”So in order to meet our schedule we are recommending condemnation. He’ll have an opportunity to plead his case in front of a judge, jury and mediator. And he’ll be treated fairly.”

But Councilman Warren Turner questioned the plan.

“Why is it that we are not considering building up the topography on the lot that is next to his?” Turner said. “Why would we waste the time to go through mediation … when we already know the answer?”

Council members decided to defer the decision on Brackett’s property until its April 25 meeting. Until then, the city’s engineering office will re-examine the plans.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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