WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- More homeowners questioned the NCDOT about plans for Winston-Salem's Proposed Northern Beltway at a public hearing Tuesday. This time in relation to nearly two miles of land inside the proposed 34 mile loop that was never designated as "protected corridor."
Engineer Pat Ivey says the land between Robinhood Road and Ketner Drive, near Forsyth Country Day School, was left out of the protected status because it was originally scheduled to be the first phase of construction.
"This particular area was not included in the map because at that time these were actually scheduled and funded prior to the lawsuit in 1999 that stopped everything. At that time we did not see a need to have them in the protective corridor," said Ivey.
But, homeowners wonder why restrict their land use now, after waiting so many years.
Ivey says it's because the road is, "still planned and needed."
Others say the state left them out to save money and until now denied them of tax credits that come with the designation while making it clear their land was in the road's way.
"We are the laboratory for what's wrong with how we build roads in this state," said Attorney Matthew Bryant
Bryant is representing dozens of landowners in other portions of the road's path who say it's unconstitutional for the state to hold their land without paying them for it while restricting what they can do to it.
"I appreciate they have a difficult job, but the NCDOT needs to get the money in place and buy these people before they basically steal their property rights from them," Bryant said.
Bryant says he is not surprised the NCDOT wants to include the mostly open land in the Western phase of the road in the protected plans, but he says it's further proof the state is continuing it's practice of holding land for projects it can not afford.
"They are asking all these citizens as they have to for the last 20 years to hurry up and wait while we get around to figuring out what we are going to do to buy your property. That's not fair," said Bryant.
The landowners already in the "protected corridor" who are suing, will have their cases heard in the State Supreme Court later this summer.