State addresses demolition of homes for Coalfields Expressway
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the W.Va. Dept. of Transportation has released the following statement regarding the acquisition of homes by eminent domain in Mullens for the Coalfields Expressway construction:
“As part of any right of way acquisitions for a planned roadway construction project, the affected property owners are contacted and shown the proposed acquisition area. If it is determined that right of way acquisition is necessary, an approved outside independent appraiser is employed to determine the Fair Market Value involved with the acquisition. Typically at this point the land owner is given all opportunity to discuss the particulars of their property and improvements with the appraiser to make sure that the appraiser is fully aware of all aspects of the property. In this particular case, it appears from the proposed project plans that only a small portion of property will need to be acquired. The appraisal process for this project has already begun and we anticipate that any property involved with the necessary acquisitions will be contacted in the very near future. Once the appraisal process is completed they will be contacted by a contracted right of way agent to begin the acquisition process. Typically this appraisal process takes between six to eight weeks.”
MULLENS, W.Va. (WVVA) - Residents in Mullens tell WVVA News more than a dozen homes are standing in the way of the next leg of the Coalfields Expressway construction to Welch.
While many say they are still waiting for an official offer to be made by the state on their homes, others are raising new concerns about plans for the project.
Kenneth Lambert said he worked hard to set himself up for his golden years, making repairs to his home on Trace Street in Mullens. “I’ve got it set up for life. I’ve got a new roof, new heat and air conditioning. I don’t have to spend a lot of money on it until I die. Now they’re going to come and tear that down.”
While Lambert said he was informed by state officials that his home will be torn down, Toby Tolliver across the street said he was told not to expect an offer.
“When I went to the meeting at Twin Falls, they said they were going to buy within a foot of the corner of my house. That would cut across both my driveways and front yard. They said they would not buy my house. I said how can you not buy my house? I won’t be able to use both my driveways. And they didn’t seem to care about that.”
Both Tolliver and Lambert said they were told that up to 20 homes could be impacted. They are all located along Trace Street and Town Ridge Acres Road.
Despite multiple attempts to get answers from the state, Lambert said he still doesn’t know how much his home was appraised for or when he will be forced to move.
“I’ve put off major surgery because of this, not wanting to get tied down with moving and having surgery and not being able to do anything.”
Lambert said he has been looking for a new home for more than a year, but has found nothing that could put a price on the life he built on Trace Street.
A Dept. of Highways Representative spoke with WVVA News at the Public Hearing at Twin Falls last month, saying they empathize with the families impacted by imminent domain, but said the state will do everything it can to make sure those landowners get fair market value for their property.
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