SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - A man is suing the state of North Carolina over a plan to build a bypass for US-74 around Shelby. Walker Cassidy has been fighting NCDOT for almost a decade, but he recently decided he'd had enough.
"They told me basically they didn't want me on my own land. The more you push me, the more I push back," Cassidy said.
The Pageland, South Carolina man says he was given nearly 73 acres on Fairview road in Shelby a decade ago, by a dear friend.
"I thought we were in a free country. I really thought we had some real rights and whenever they tell you they don't want you making footprints on your own land, that makes you feel pretty bad," Cassidy said.
He wanted to build a home on the property, but every permit he submitted was denied. That's because those 73 acres sit in an NCDOT protected corridor. The Highway 74 Bypass is supposed to run right through where Cassidy wants to build.
"It eliminates me from using 73 acres, but they'll let me pay taxes on 73 acres," Cassidy said.
To further complicate issues, NCDOT hasn't set a start date for the HWY 74 project. Cassidy's attorney calls that a real problem.
"If the state had their druthers, they would delay this thing for another 20 to 30 years and not give these people any money. They'd just let them sit there and rot on the vine," Matthew Bryant said.
Cassidy hopes to win the lawsuit, but he says it's not really about the payout. He believes others are in the same position as him and he wasn't to be a voice for them all.
"There's a lot of older people in Cleveland County that are getting done a lot worse than me," Cassidy said.
Numerous identical lawsuits have been filed in the Raleigh and Winston-Salem areas. NCDOT declined to comment on any pending litigation.