Church sues state over Project Neon

Local News

Project Neon is just about 85 percent complete. However, a church right next to I-15 by MLK and Charleston Boulevard is now suing the state over the project.

Grace Presbyterian Church claims it has suffered ever since construction started.

In an 18-page lawsuit, Grace Presbyterian Church accuses NDOT of forcing underground utilities onto church property for Project Neon, saying it was done “against the landowner’s will and with no compensation…” 

The lawsuit claims NDOT moved those utilities to build the new MLK overpass nine feet from church property at MLK and Charleston.

Attorney Amy Sugden represents Grace Presbyterian.

“Now we’re waiting for the state. We filed the suit in July of this year to file an answer. They will file an answer in the beginning of November when it’s due and then from there we sit down,” Sugden said.

The overpass sits on what used to be Desert Lane.

Alan Bowers is an elder at the church.

“The whole process has been very, very frustrating which means some people have chosen not to come anymore. They go find another church,” Bowers said.

They showed 8 News Now some of the damage listed in the lawsuit.

It claims excessive vibrations for Project Neon led to cracks, “in the foundation of the floors, and ceilings, separation in the walls, within stained-glass window panes, as well as relocation of the fire suppression hangers.”

“When they were building the Martin Luther King overpass first they had to take out a road, which was one of our main entrances to the church and so they jack hammered all that up, the building shaking, the sanctuary shaking,” Bowers said. “Then, they have to come over and build that. They don’t just put a pile of dirt and cement over it.”

After the state files its response by early Nov., Sugden says they’ll then hire experts to determine how much the church believes the state needs to pay up. 

“This church has been significantly impacted. Its value significantly diminished,” she said. “And unlike a lot of the neighbors that have been able to receive just compensation for the taking of their property — no matter how small  — you are able to get compensation that you’re due and the church hasn’t been afforded that right.”

8 News Now reached out to NDOT who is referring any comments to the state attorney general’s office.

On Wednesday this week, 8 News Now called and e-mailed the state attorney general’s office for comment, but we haven’t heard back yet.

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