Greenway Trail Extension May Limit Residential Property Access | NBC Southern California

Greenway Trail Extension May Limit Residential Property Access

The city spent nearly $3 million acquiring an easement from the owner of the property, Union Pacific Railroad, so that the trail can be extended east to La Habra

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some Whittier residents were notified that they will soon lose vehicle access to make way for the Greenway Trail extension. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 news at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

    (Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017)

    The Greenway Trail is a pedestrian and bike path that stretches 4 1/2 miles through Whittier. Now the city wants to expand it to the eastern edge of the city, but to do so, they have to cut off vehicle access to the backyards of 39 homes.

    And those residents aren't too happy about it.

    "We're pretty much at their mercy ... it's a done deal," property owner Lynn Folliott said.

    But he is fighting back.

    Folliott's family has owned a home in Whittier for more than 50 years. During all that time they've been able to store RV's in the backyard and have had vehicle access through a rear gate.

    He is one of 39 residents who were notified that they will soon lose vehicle access to make way for the trail extension.

    The city spent nearly $3 million acquiring an easement from the owner of the property, Union Pacific Railroad, so the trail can be extended east to La Habra.

    Folliott said even though there's nothing in writing that specifically allows residents to drive in and out of their backyards, Union Pacific never objected.

    Now the city is cutting him off, and residents won't be allowed to move their RV's to the street.

    "I lose value on my home and the people who rent here. It's going to cost them money to take their travel trailer out and park it some place besides the rent," Folliott said.

    Whittier City Manager Jeff Collier said the city is well within its rights to enforce the restricted access.

    "They've been able to utilize this without a legal right to do this. They've benefited by being able to do this for many years," Collier said. "I think they're going to find having this trail amenity behind them is actually beneficial to property values."

    City officials stress this is not a case of eminent domain, where governments can buy private property for public projects.

    The land belongs to Union Pacific Railroad and the city has bought the right to use it for the trail.

    Residents scheduled a meeting with city officials Wednesday night to discuss their concerns, but it looks like construction on the trail will begin next year.

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