• Residents believe Volusia County secretly plotted to take land from them


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Some Volusia County homeowners filed a complaint with the state on Monday, saying, local and state leaders secretly plotted to take part of their front yards away from them without payment.

    The plan surfaced in October to take 30 feet of property from more than a dozen homes along Osteen-Maytown Road for a bike trail.

    And residents told Channel 9's Jeff Deal the deal was in the works long before it was made public.

    Sheryl Manche handed over complaints alleging four county commissioners, two county employees and two state Department of Transportation violated state and local laws.

    "They want to take 55-feet of every homeowner's properties, up to half an acre to two acres of land," said Manche.

    There are 13 land owners affected. Some have even put up signs letting other in the community know what's going on and asking them to join the fight.

    The county claims a law passed in the 1930s allows the state to reclaim certain properties, and Manche said landowners don't dispute the validity of that law, even though they say their deeds don't mention it as a possibility.

    But those landowners believe the county and state workers conspired and tried to sneak the move through and even approved part of the plan months before notifying the landowners they were considering taking their property.

    Residents think it was done to meet a deadline in order to apply for millions of federal dollars in funding.

    "This has been unscrupulous, sneaking around people's backs trying to get the money any which way they want to do it, said Manche.

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