Gilbert families impacted by road expansion refuse to back down, hiring lawyers

Homeowners are fighting back and getting lawyers to fight Gilbert over the town’s land grab for a road expansion.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:47 PM MST
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GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Some families in Gilbert are bracing for a legal fight, pushing back against a road expansion project that cuts into their property. They say they’re losing more of their land than necessary.

The expansion project is for part of Ocotillo Road, stretching from Val Vista to Greenfield. Rich Robertson has lived along this road for 20 years. “We and everybody else moved out here because of the rural lifestyle,” he said.

They believe they will lose about half an acre with the Town of Gilbert’s decision to move forward with its plan to upgrade it to four lanes and a center turn lane. “They want 65 feet from the center line; we think a good compromise would be at 55 feet,” he said.

Robertson feels it’s all very unjust because when Gilbert took this to a vote, he could not voice his opposition since the property is technically in Maricopa County. “We went through this process hoping to have a seat at the table to talk about some way of accomplishing their goals but mitigate the impact on us and that just didn’t happen,” Robertson said.

Now he feels another battle will be the appraisal of his land the town will be acquiring. “Money will never solve the problem, but it’s the only thing you can negotiate on,” he said.

That’s why he has chosen to hire an attorney. “Eminent domain is a complicated body of law and we need guidance, so yes we’ve hired a lawyer and several other people have hired lawyers and we need that guidance to protect our rights to recover whatever loss we’re going to suffer from this project,” Robertson explained.

The Town of Gilbert issued this statement: