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Family upset their property may be taken by MDOT

Published: Mar. 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2012 at 9:26 PM CST
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VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - MDOT is working to acquire land along Highway 57 in Vancleave in order to complete a widening project that has been in the works for almost ten years now.

One piece of property the department needs for the project has been in the Roberts family for more than 100 years and it is not sitting well with them.

Glenn Roberts said, "It was one of the saddest days in my life."

Roberts is talking about the day he received a map from MDOT highlighting part of his property the department will need in order to complete the project.

"They are taking a family home that I was raised in, that my father was raised in, cut our property in half, leave it sitting on the other side of an access ramp and take away our access to it. Then they are going to put a slap in the face and tell us it is only worth $11,000," Roberts said.

Along with his mother's home, two of the family barns, several acres of their farm and the driveway in front of his house will become black pavement.

The property is more than just a home to the Roberts, it is also their way of life and that is why they cannot understand why MDOT does not use the undeveloped property right across the road.

MDOT engineer Gabe Faggard says he has met with the family to explain.

"When MDOT looks at relocating a highway facility there are many aspects involved in that. One is residents in the area, we don't want to impact them, but there are also environmental concerns," Faggard said.

He says the property across the road is wetlands.

"We cannot go over in that area and fill in those wetlands," Faggard said. "We have made a lot of attempts to alter our paths, as much as possible, to avoid impacting them but in this case it's just not possible."

The Roberts say they plan to move forward and fight eminent domain.

Roberts said, "I'm not against them needing to do it, I'm against the way they are doing it, they are taking people's homes and heritages."

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