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Gilbert residents could lose extra property due to Ocotillo Road expansion change

Some of these residents said they were blindsided being told they’ll lose even more of their property due to a street project on Ocotillo Road.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 8:01 PM MST
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GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Controversy in Gilbert is heating up after some residents claim the town council is about to take more of their land than necessary for a street project on Ocotillo Road. The problem for these residents is they didn’t get to vote on any of this because most of them live in the unincorporated part of Maricopa County. They’re hoping public pressure can create some change.

This is all about widening Ocotillo Road between Val Vista and Greenfield. It’s something these residents have prepared for, and that was in the growth plan, but what wasn’t in the plan was expanding it. Some of these residents said they were blindsided being told they’ll lose even more of their property.

It’s a rural part of Ocotillo Road in Gilbert; many neighbors have lived here for decades raising horses, planting huge trees, and making this home. That’s what has some even more upset.

“They still could have talked to us. They still could have been communicating some of these ideas with us,” said Rich Robertson, who has lived here for 20 years. “It was always scheduled to only be a 55-foot easement, and what’s changed is they’ve added another 10. And really, that’s where all the damage is going to happen is in that 10 feet.”

Robertson said he and the other 45 properties it will affect were only made aware of the amended 65-foot expansion a few weeks ago when Town of Gilbert officials came canvassing the area to put in stakes and let them know. “This is where eventually my property will end, and sidewalks and curb and bike lanes and five lanes of traffic will start from here,” he showed Arizona’s Family.

Because many of these residents live in the unincorporated part of Maricopa County, they can’t vote on things within the Town of Gilbert, even though they have Gilbert addresses. Some will lose trees, sheds, swimming pools, and land, potentially decreasing their home values.

It’s why Eric Naddy and his wife Terri have begun a change.org petition that has nearly 300 signatures fighting for town officials to keep the original expansion plans. “We had about 30 people here that all finally heard what was going on and really didn’t like the answers they were getting,” said Eric Naddy. “Mostly, it’s been social media, writing emails, tagging the mayor in social media.”

“My argument to the City is that we may not be your constituents, but we are your neighbors. These county islands are completely surrounded by the Town of Gilbert,” said Robertson.

Many of the residents are planning to be at the Gilbert town council meeting on Tuesday to voice their opinions about why they want the project to stay at the planned 55 feet.