Homeowners pushing back against city project cutting through their yard

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – As the city of Sacramento prepares to begin the Del Rio Trail project in the South Land Park neighborhood, people living along there say they got an unexpected letter from the city. 

A couple living in the area since 1973 says the letter informed them that their property is taking up space where the city wants to begin the project. So, the city wants them to remove it. 

Kathy and Ray Hillier usually don’t agree on much. But when they got the letter, both of them were furious. 

“Well, they’re not going to do that. That’s up to us, Ray,” Kathy Hillier said. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

According to the letter, about 20 feet of the Hilliers’ yard is in the way of the project. The city says they need it gone by July 31. 

“I’m not physically able to do it, and I don’t think he is either. But at least I recognize that,” Kathy Hillier said. 

On top of that, the couple says a satellite image the city provided is confusing. 

“This is the property line right here,” Ray Hillier said. “Well, we don’t know for sure.”

Back in 2019, people in the neighborhood seemed to be on board with the project. 

“It’s a great community amenity and benefit to the region,” said South Land Park Neighborhood Association President Brian Ebbert in 2019. 

But Kathy Hillier says the new development came as a surprise. 

“I had no clue, and I said to myself, ‘We’ll be dead and gone before they get this done.’” Kathy Hillier said. 

A city spokesperson was not available for an on-camera interview, but told FOX40 homeowners can request an extension and provide another time to remove the property in question. They also said if homeowners believe they have the legal right, they need to provide the necessary documents. 

For now, the Hilliers need just one thing. 

“Give us time,” Kathy Hillier said. 

The couple says they believe they are the rightful owners of the land since they have had it for more than 40 years. And they’re going to tell the city to stop trying to take the land away from them. 

Full statement from city spokesperson below.

The City Council unanimously approved the Del Rio Trail Project in March 2019. Public Works has since started and completed the land survey and is now on to the implementation phase of the project. This requires Public Works to clear any encroachments onto the City’s property so that the project can be constructed and the public is able to use it. The City recently sent encroachment letters to let property owners know they need to remove their encroachment from the City property by July 31. If an owner would like to request an extension, the City asks that the property owners contact the City with an alternate schedule for removing any encroachments. The City will consider each instance on a case-by-case basis. If someone believes they have a legal right to occupy the area of encroachment, they can send the easement or other document granting such right to the Public Works contact listed at the bottom of the letter. 

Community and stakeholder input has been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. The City will work cooperatively with homeowners to see that the encroachments are removed and find solutions that allow the trail to move forward to benefit the entire community.

City of Sacramento

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