The Heavy and Unknown Future

**Disclaimer: depressing content that I’ve put off for months.**

I’ve been kind of groaning about establishing goals for a few reasons (you know, lame horses, uncertainty that the county won’t push your barn down and build a road through your pasture, that sort of thing). Totally normal, right? So I’ve been reluctant to spend money on my barn/the upper part of the farm since this road is slated to eliminate that entire portion of my property. For future reference, do not establish your farm beside the up and coming industrial park…oh wait. The farm was there first.

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Road will basically run through here. 

I know I just referred to this in a previous post, but I don’t want to reveal the exact location of the farm for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately this road project has been declared very likely to occur and I kind of want to blog about my feelings about it. I’ve “owned” the property for the last calendar year and have had horses on it as long as I’ve had horses (since 2001/2002). The property belonged to my father since the early 80’s and the industrial park nearby was established in the early 2000’s (if I remember correctly).

So basically the county (and the industries within the park) have determined that the road they’ve been using for over ten years is now not sufficient for current and future traffic. The reality of the issue? The county has spent over 20 million to MOVE DIRT to improve a lot that they wish to sell to a large company. Several large companies have been interested in the lot, but for one reason or another, have opted to build elsewhere, leaving the county on the hook for a stupidly large bill. The county apparently believes that the roads to and from the lot are the issue and wish to remedy the solution by spending almost 18 million to build a road through my farm (and several others, but mine is the one I’m worried about if we’re being honest here). They’ve applied for funding and we’re waiting to hear the absolute decision on that, but my brother (who’s house will be demolished, you know, the one my dad built, we grew up in, he inherited) spoke to someone from the board of supervisors who said that with or without the funding they’ve applied for, the county is determined to build the road in the next few years.

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If they receive funding through the current avenue they are pursuing, it appears that construction will start in 2022 (though several of the other projects this money has been slated to fund have sat stagnant for a while now, so timing is sketchy). So. What is one to do when they own a building (house or barn) that is slated for demolition in the next few years? Do they continue life YOLO style and put footing in their indoor/new carpet in their living room and just cross their fingers that a) miracles exist and they get to keep their property or b) they get to spend a couple useful years with said improvements before they’re “fairly compensated” for their property and asked to leave?

With this in mind, you’ll probably understand why my Farm Goals for 2016 fell so short. Why would I bother to put footing in the indoor or build run ins for fields that I won’t own or be able to easily repurpose going forward? I do have 26 acres, so hopefully they’ll leave me enough space to be able to house everyone I currently have on the other side of the property. We were hoping to build a house on the farm one day, but with the addition of a 4 lane highway in the back yard, I’m not sure that will happen, and I’m confident that it won’t happen until after said highway is in place so that I can decide IF we want to stay there.

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Barn at night.

So basically…imminent domain is awful. We live in a constant state of if and when and it hurts my heart to consider that one day my blue barn will be leveled and several inches of asphalt will cover the graves of the two greatest farm dogs ever.

 

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18 thoughts on “The Heavy and Unknown Future

  1. That is the fucking pits. I want to hire you a million lawyers to sue your stupid county.

    In a more realistic setting, does your land offer habitat to any endangered species or have historical value? Those things will stop construction!

    • Unfortunately no. A neighboring property does have “historical” value and that has pushed the route down our way because of that. Those buildings will likely fall from the blasting to build this road though…

  2. That is awful, and I’m so sorry your having to deal with that. Is the county going to compensate you for the decrease in land value, the emotional toll it’ll have in you, or for the shitty situation in general?

  3. Sadly, there are so many situations like this. It makes me sick every time. We’re currently dealing with a potential pipeline that would run through our property. Thankfully, we only rent. When I worked in rescue, they expanded the highway and kicked hundreds of people out of their homes and farms. 😦 😦 I wish there was something to be done.

  4. As someone who works on the environmental regulatory side of this kind of thing, I hate to see this happen. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re an effected landowner in a battle such as this! I know better than most how topsy turvy funding and construction schedules can be for this kind of work. Shy of historical, cultural, or environmental value, it’s nigh impossible to push them off of your property without oodles of dollars to spend on a killer lawyer to be a total PITA to the developer. Best you can do is hope for a better alternative elsewhere or a funding crash. =(

  5. Every time we talk about this I just want to go punch the people in charge of this project right in the face. Taking land away from people is so wrong, especially such pretty land.

  6. Ugh, just now reading this. I’m so sorry- geez that sounds insanely frustrating. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed though that everything works itself out in the best way possible for you guys.

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