The residents that are unhappy about the City of Lathrop’s decision to widen Lathrop Road have been anything but quiet about how they feel.
But their complaints could soon end up in a courtroom.
Despite the fact that the city is nearly done with the Lathrop Road widening project – which will make the city’s namesake thoroughfare two lanes in each direction from Harlan Road through 5th Street – those who have been deadest against the project since it was conceptual once again used the public comment portion of last Monday’s Lathrop City Council meeting to voice their concerns and their complaints.
Outspoken critic Sharon Lamb, however, told the council – and Lathrop City Attorney Salvador Navarrete specifically – that they’ve been in contact with various lawyers, and may have somebody willing to take their case for what they feel was the city’s blatant disregard for their safety and for disrupting their lives unjustly.
Lamb, who started out reading a letter to the council from her husband, Chris, said that while the group doesn’t have anybody currently on a retainer, have generated plenty of interest based off of the criteria that they have been presented and are more than willing to take the matter to that next step if it means that they’ll be able get the relief they seek.
Specifics as to what they would be requesting from the city – that is within weeks of receiving a notice of completion from the contractor tasked with completing the work – were not presented to the council.
And it appears that some of the residents may be calling into question the documents that the city prepared and the engineering work that was completed prior to the start – inferring that the city unlawfully encroached on their property despite the fact that surveyors were utilized for precision lot-line planning prior to the beginning of construction.
Irene Torres, who had previously complained to the council that the sidewalk that her family had previously installed along the city’s right-of-way was removed and replaced without notification to the family or compensation for the money that they had spent to complete the upgrade, said that she questions why residents are supposed to just take for granted that the lot lines that were established by the contractor were accurate.
Navarrete said that the city would gladly provide the necessary documents to the residents at their request and answer any questions that they may have, but would have to, upon the group’s retention of legal counsel, answer all inquiries through the proper channels.
While the city has refuted many of the claims previously levied as a result of the project, residents maintain that by bringing the road closer to their homes – building out onto the city’s right-of-way to widen the road to allow for two lanes in each direction – they have made their properties less safe than they were before the project began. Increased truck traffic, they claim, poses an additional threat, as does the fact that residents can no longer back out of their driveways.
The new construction, which included putting curbs, gutters and sidewalks on the previously rural residential sections, has also eliminated on-street parking for the handful of residents who live in the area.
Because the item was not on the agenda, and because of the prospect of legal proceedings, the council did not comment on any of the complaints that were lodged.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.