The city of Napa and a Silverado Trail property owner have settled an eminent domain lawsuit regarding a temporary easement.
On Tuesday, City Attorney Michael Barrett announced the City Council had signed off on a $100,000 settlement with resident Dorothy Glaros in exchange for a temporary construction easement on her property that was required to widen a stretch of Silverado Trail near the Saratoga Drive extension. The project involved adding an 8-foot shoulder to the Trail in front of her property, a requirement made by Caltrans.
Glaros and the city have been negotiating all year and were set to go to trial in December if a settlement was not reached.
While not happy about the settlement, Glaros said she agreed to it because she did not want to be in court just before Christmas. Additionally, she said the court would have only taken into account the damage to her property, not the problems she has had with the city during construction or her belief that she was treated unfairly in comparison to her neighbors.
“Their property has improved in value,” Glaros said. “My property has decreased in value. I felt the settlement is inequitable with what others were given through this process.”
In preparing to do the widening work and extend Saratoga Drive to the Trail, the city acquired property and easements from 12 property owners. Some received improvements to their property in exchange for the easements. The city was able to reach agreements with all the property owners in the area without use of eminent domain, except Glaros.
Though none of her property was taken, some vegetation buffering her land — which contains several homes that house her son and tenants — and the Trail was removed. Much of the cleared vegetation was located in the public right-of-way, according to the city.
“It’s worse than I expected,” Glaros said. “Before you could sit on the front lawn and it would be peaceful and people couldn’t see you. It’s not that way anymore.”
Additionally, Glaros said light from the Shell gas station across the street shines into the homes at dark, and debris and dust from the road blows onto her land.
Glaros said the only reason she held out on an agreement was because the city would not request an exemption from Caltrans that required the 8-foot shoulders. With an exemption, some of the vegetation could potentially have been saved, she said.
In the past, city officials have said the shoulders are a Caltrans requirement, so an exemption would have been virtually impossible to obtain.
The work in front of Glaros’ property is complete, according to the city. The remaining Saratoga Drive and Silverado Trail work should be complete by Thanksgiving.