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Rigby neighborhood says 'no' to big road improvements

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Jun 07 2013 12:58:55 AM CDT

Caleb James reports.

RIGBY, Idaho -

One Rigby neighborhood is standing together and saying 'no' to a big street redevelopment.

Neighbors on 1st North in Rigby tell our station that a block-and-a-half long section of their road was torn up several years ago, to install a water line for a neighboring development.
     
At a certain point in the road, the pavement simply ends.

The city of Rigby wants to rebuild the road bigger and better -- complete with curbs and sidewalks.

Neighbors on Thursday said that's too much. The improvements will encroach on their private land. They want the road paved -- just like it was before the wear and tear.

"This would be the back of the curb, this would be the sidewalk," said Stephanie Mahoney, as she pointed to markers indicating where the proposed sidewalk for the road would extend into neighboring property.

Neighbors like Mahoney said it's especially heartbreaking, because they'll end up bearing the cost.

"They want to put in an LID which basically means that we're responsible for the cost of the road," said Rose Berzel, another neighbor. "They want to put in a regular road with sidewalks, curbs and all that, put in new light fixtures. We're not asking for any of that we just want our road back."

Berzel invited us to the neighborhood on Thursday because the Rigby city council had agreed to take a walking tour of the neighborhood and see the impact of the project.
     
When council members arrived in the neighborhood there were a couple tense exchanges between neighbors and council members.

The arguments boiled down to discussion over the ownership of the land that would be reclaimed by the city if the project moved forward -- whether it is even owned by those who live there in the first place.

"We all have our opinion of who owns it, because of use, so we just need that to be legal, and described, and recorded," said Rigby mayor Keith Smith.

The determination, said Smith, will be made with the outcome of what's called a Quiet Title lawsuit.

In order to defend their claim to any property, those homeowners will have to hire lawyers to keep the land they believe is already theirs.
                                              

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