POSTED: Friday, February 25, 2011 - 1:58pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 12:15pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) -- The loss of property isn't the only concern for residents in the Staring Lane community. One man is upset about just how close the new highway will be to his house once it's finished.
"This marker is 15 feet from this roofline right here," says Jim Bagot.
When Bagot found out that the city wanted to buy part of his property for a road, he understood. "I don't mind. I know I can't fight that."
But when he found out how close that road would come to his house, he had an idea. "I said, hey, tell you what. Just buy both houses. I don't want them. I'm not going to live on the street."
Bagot says he got his whole property appraised at the request of a city attorney, and then asked if they'd be willing to take everything. All they had to do was make him an offer and he says, they refused. "This is not my idea. This is their idea. They're comingin, taking my property. Why don't they just buy and what they want with it?"
It's not just the road that will be moving closer to his house. The utility lines are coming too and he worries they could be a safety hazard. "This is where I sleep. These lines give off radioactive electricity and you can detect it with the right equipment. It's going to go through the house!"
Bagot says he's tried to fight it to no avail, so he's down to what he believes is his last resort. "My only option is to go to court. There's no bargaining. There's no anything. It's just like well, we're going to do it and there's nothing you can do about it."
We contacted Mayor Kip Holden's office about this and a spokesperson put us in touch with the Green Light Plan project manager. He sent the following statement regarding this issue:
"The projects included within the Green Light Plan, including Staring Lane, were projects that were voted upon by the citizens of East Baton Rouge and overwhelmingly approved as a solution to improving our arterial road system here in Baton Rouge. As I mentioned, project designs were conducted with public concerns in mind, and every effort was made to deliver a project that would have most minimal amount of right-of-way impact to residents and businesses while delivering a finished roadway capable of supporting current and future growth.
A public information workshop was held in January of 2008 and included over 200 citizens in attendance (in addition to 17 project team representatives). The workshop included displays of project plans, aerial photographs of the project limits, and all project team members were engaged throughout the evening in one-on-one conversations with residents and businesses who wanted to know more about the project and how it would ultimately affect them and the area.
Additionally, one-on-one meetings were conducted with the homeowners who were relocating due to project right-of-way designs. Each of these were conducted with a Green Light Plan Community Relations representative and member of the Green Light Plan Program Management team to answer all questions about the process, discuss compensation for properties, and timelines for moving forward.
The goal of the Green Light Plan is to provide solutions to alleviating traffic in East Baton Rouge Parish. Staring Lane is a project that will improve the current roadway to the level at which it needs to be for future growth, and will also leverage recent improvements to Perkins Road and the construction of the Staring Lane Extension in facilitating the efficient, safe movement of traffic through the area."