A county island resident who argues access to his neighborhood will be restricted by a road construction project is suing Gilbert.
Robert Walker, one of about 35 county island homeowners affected by the Ray Road widening and median project, filed the civil lawsuit Feb. 20 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The lawsuit alleges Gilbert’s actions violate the Arizona and U.S. Constitutions by arbitrarily restricting property access without a public use and just compensation.
Walker’s attorney, Edward Britt, said the other neighborhood homeowners north of Ray Road, between Val Vista Drive and Greenfield Road, are likely to join the suit.
"The main goal of the homeowners is to protect their property rights and not have their rights and access arbitrarily restricted," Britt said.
Britt said Gilbert has not responded to the complaint.
Gilbert spokesman Greg Svelund said, "We do not comment on pending litigation."
When the road project is completed, Gilbert Farms residents will be unable to turn left from Jarman Boulevard, 155th Street and 156th Place onto Ray Road.
The median also will block left-hand turns from Ray Road onto two of the three streets. There is no access between the three streets.
Neighborhood resident Mike Conner said he plans to join the lawsuit.
"Gilbert wouldn’t negotiate in good faith so we have no other choice," Conner said.
The lawsuit also names Mayor Steve Berman and traffic engineer Bruce Ward in their official capacity with the town.
The lawsuit alleges Berman’s public statements critical of county island residents illustrate his desire to arbitrarily restrict access to their property.
"I’ve never said they deserve to be punished," Berman said. "I am truly not involved in this thing at any level."
Berman said he does not dislike county island residents, but reiterated that they access Gilbert services, road and parks without paying their way.