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Pl. Grove landowners miffed at mayor over road plan

They resent his remarks, say city has 'misled' them

PLEASANT GROVE — Neighbors who own land in the area where a new freeway connector road is planned are mad at Pleasant Grove Mayor Ed Sanderson.

They say remarks Sanderson made about landowners "gouging" the city don't apply to them because they have not yet been asked to sell.

"The original plans did not take out any of our homes," said Evelyn Walters. She and her husband own four homes that will either be taken out or landlocked if the Pleasant Grove Boulevard option is chosen over a loop road that would tie into 700 North in Lindon and 2000 West in American Fork.

The Pleasant Grove Boulevard option would follow a straight diagonal path from the new interchange to the city's Center Street and State Street intersection, cutting through their farm and those of several other longtime residents.

Sanderson told the Deseret News he's tired of fighting for help with the loop road funding and that landowners in that area are asking too high of a price for their properties.

He said his "gouging" remarks were aimed at the loop road property owners — but he's also hearing that neighbors along the boulevard path are expecting to reap handsome profits.

Sanderson said the city hasn't finalized the road alignment. When it does, every neighbor will be informed.

"We're going to try and impact as few people as possible," Sanderson said. "But we'd like to have the Pleasant Grove Boulevard, at least two lanes of it, in by the time the interchange is done."

"We just feel like the comment about gouging is very derogatory when no one has made any contact or offer," Evelyn Walters said. "We have not been notified. No one has talked to us about it."

"We've got 30 to 40 years of our lives tied up here. We have to start over. We can't prepare because we don't know what's going to happen," said Dwayne Walters.

Others affected by the Pleasant Grove Boulevard alignment agree that the city has not been forthright.

Ray Proctor said his family has owned their farmland since 1890. It's a question of asking him to sell a piece of family history, he said.

Bob Carter, who owns a small piece of land near the proposed road, said he's upset because he feels the city administration hasn't been forthcoming with plans.

"They've lied, misled," he said. "We go to the meetings, and they keep changing things on us."

John Harr, a real estate broker, said he came back from a trip out of the country to find survey markers in his fields. His son, left in charge, knew nothing about the new road plans.

"I'm not opposed to selling if the price is reasonable, and they're obligated to pay fair price plus 20 percent if they take the land," Harr said. "I bought the ground for an investment. I'm not emotionally attached, and I've been in the game long enough to know that growth is inevitable."

Harr said his neighbors would be well-advised to look at their situations in the same light.

Other neighbors say they don't want to be unreasonable or greedy. They simply want information and to be included in the planning.

"It seems the city's been working more with the developers than with the people," said Craig Yuzon, the leader of a neighborhood group. "They're not paying attention to the people or to me."


E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com