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Citizen decries city plans to widen Morgan Road
• Ranchette owner claims city hasn’t informed residents
Morgan Road ranchette
The city plans to widen Morgan Road to its full width, meaning that four ranchettes will lose about 30 feet of frontage. This photo shows the transition where the street changes from narrow width to full width. - photo by Jeff Benziger

A resident of Morgan Road last week protested the city’s plans to widen Morgan Road in front of his ranchette property, telling the Ceres City Council that the city has not considered residents’ concerns.

Ray Smith lives in the 3500 block of Morgan Road where 30 feet of his and three other ranchettes on the west side of the street will be shaved off for the expansion of Morgan Road.

According to Smith, the affected property owners weren’t advised about the city’s plans to take their property for street widening.

“I learned about this as a surveying crew was on my yard without even a phone call,” Smith told the council. “They’re in there surveying my property, I go out to see what’s going on and he hands me a business card and says, ‘You might want to call them. They’re taking the front of your property.’”

Smith acknowledged knowing about the public easement on his land.

He claims the city had secured grant funding for the widening of Morgan Road since 2016 but sat on it until it became apparent that the project needed to take place or the city would lose the funds.

“The city did not reach out to the property owners until sending a letter a couple of weeks ago, two weeks before the deadline for the grant,” said Smith.

He said the city manager and city engineers listened to his concerns about safety and said they would see about any revisions they could design. Smith said shortly afterward the city emailed him saying they were proceeding with original plans and had already submitted them to the state, end of discussion. He wants the City Council to place the item on the next agenda to allow him and his neighbors to bring up their concerns.

“I believe that these property owners have the right and should have been included in these discussions all the way back to 2016 as it has greatly affected our properties and the safety of our families as well the ongoing parking issues with the existing area that is being widened already,” said Smith.

He said that the project is not just “putting a sidewalk in front of my property; we’re talking about taking 30 feet of my property, putting these roads right on my doorstep. There’s definitely some safety concerns.”

Mayor Javier Lopez asked Interim City Manager Alex Terrazas to report back to the council on the matter and pledged to Smith, “We will look into this, Mr. Smith. We just want to make sure that we get all facts straight.”