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More landowners in Winston-Salem beltway path sue State

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Add 26 more property owners in the path of Winston-Salem's Northern Beltway to the long list of landowners already suing the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The landowners filed the suit on Wednesday demanding the state buy their property which in some cases has been held in limbo for more than 15 years.

"I've wanted to sell this house for a long time," says Tom McAllistar, a landowner off Yadkinville Road who says the state has bought property around him while claiming it can't afford to buy his anytime soon.
 
"All of the people in this beltway have been locked up, their lives been locked up," says McAllistar. 

The property owners claim because of state regulations placed on their property since it's in the roads path, they've lost use and economic value of their property. They can't sell it, make major repairs or changes, but still must pay taxes. 
 
Attorney Matthew Bryant says, "what we want is a fair price that neighbors got or better. They have had to bear the burden for far longer than they should have, " says Bryant. 

"They are going to be bought by the state, 2 years, 5 years, 15 years down the road there is no disputing that so why will they not get bought now," Bryant argues.

The Department of Transportation will not comment on the suit but in the past has said 
state policy only allows land for future  road projects to be bought when the owner is facing illness or hardship.  Engineers say otherwise there's no money allotted for purchase until construction is scheduled and ready to begin..

The eastern leg of Winston-Salem's Northern Beltway is scheduled for construction beginning in late 2014.  A date has not been set for the western leg anytime before 2020.