For the second week in a row, Maricopa County island residents inside Gilbert’s planning area raised objections to town council about plans to widen Ocotillo Road between 148th Street and Greenfield Road.

The residents spoke out during the communications from citizens portion of the May 24 council meeting.

While some longtime residents said they were aware the town would one day widen Ocotillo Road, they said the scope of the town’s plans has grown to more sidewalks, bike and horse trails, and more lanes, and the project will unnecessarily take more of their properties than is needed.

The project is to complete Ocotillo Road improvements from 148th Street to Greenfield Road to minor arterial road standards with four traffic lanes and a striped center left turn lane, bike lanes, sidewalk and streetlights, according to the town’s capital improvement plan.

“That additional 10 feet is where most of the damage is going to be,” resident Rich Robertson said. “It’s where most of the expense for Gilbert taxpayers is going to come from in taking out those [formerly approved] walls, those outbuildings, those swimming pools that were built with the expectation of 55 feet [of widening].”

Robertson said because they are county island residents, no one from the town has spoken to them about the construction plans.

“My request to the council is that you direct staff to make this widening conform to the 55 feet and to work with the residents to see if we can mitigate the harm to our neighborhood,” he said.

Gilbert is funding the $24.16 million project with street bonds, future growth funding and system development fees, according to the town’s capital improvement plan.

The project is being brought to 60% design completion ahead of construction, according to the town, and a public meeting is planned for mid-June.

The town has previously paused a capital improvement project that included eminent domain of people’s yards along the Western Canal to accommodate infrastructure renovations on underground water lines. The town did so after meeting with affected neighbors on the project and is expected to make a decision on how to proceed soon.

Judge appointments

As part of the consent agenda, the town appointed Bruce Owens and Casey Mundell as municipal judges. Owens’ appointment is effective June 13 and Mundell on Sept. 5.