Tulsa Homeowners Frustrated With City's Use Of Eminent Domain
TULSA, Oklahoma - Plans to expand the Gilcrease Expressway in northwest Tulsa have dozens of landowners asking if their property is really their own.
The City of Tulsa has taken their land through eminent domain, and while there's nothing illegal about it, the plans are frustrating some Tulsans.
The homeowners say they've had a difficult time communicating with the city and they say they feel they've simply become tenants on their own property.
Ralph Mackey used to own 40 acres of land in northwest Tulsa. The city recently took about half of it to extend the Gilcrease Expressway.
"Now, I see these posts and the concrete down and it really hits you now, and you say 'Wow, look at all the land that they took from me,'" Mackey said.
Mackey said the ongoing battle over his property forced him to move his driveway so he could have access to his home while crews worked on the road.
"Moving my driveway up created a very steep incline into my property," Mackey said.
That means Mackey can't move his two new trailers off his land. He uses the trailers for his business.
"I can't do a thing with them. I'm spending money for movers to move my equipment that I buy and sell, and that's costing me money," Mackey said.
The city's engineering manager said this was the best place for Mackey's driveway.
"There was a preliminary discussion about placing it further south, but that location of 41st West Avenue is lower in comparison to his property, so the grate of the new driveway would be too steep to actually work," said Henry Som de Cerff.
Mackey isn't the only homeowner there fed up with the city's handling of this project. The city did some work in front of Wayne Barrett's house.
"Now, I've got a driveway that's like this. It's like a ski slope," Barrett said. "The driveway failed. It started sinking, because they didn't pack the dirt right."
"There was some cracking. It's my understanding all of that has been fixed, and if there is new cracking—yes, we'll fix it," Som de Cerff said.
All of the construction on the roads around Mackey and Barrett's property is complete for now.
The city said they're still waiting on money to finish the Gilcrease Expressway. There's no timeline on when that money will come in.