Saltillo subdivision residents frustrated

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Residents of Park Ridge subdivision are having erosion and pothole problems in their neighborhood. Since their developer isn’t taking responsibility they aren’t left with many options.
To fix the improper drainage, failures in the road’s base layer and pave the street would cost more than $85,000.
The neighborhood’s drainage system is two small grates for the approximately 40 houses and four streets. The drains are in the cul de sac where most of the water drains.
Homeowner Jason Carlock said water passes the drains and goes into his back yard, where erosion has taken about six feet of his yard and created a ledge.
The first intersection in the neighborhood contains at least five potholes that Saltillo Public Works Director Richard Feist said hold water, leading to larger erosion problems in the road.
The water drains from that intersection, down the gently sloping Palm Tree Lane, into the drain and Carlock’s yard.
The city can accept the roads if they are dedicated by developer Fred Collins, but in doing so the city would be accepting the liability of roads built below their standards and in dire need of repair. Current city policies do not allow developers to build infrastructure in subdivisions without prior approval but those policies weren’t in place or weren’t strictly enforced when the subdivision was developed 10 years ago.
Building roads in a subdivision is the responsibility of the developer. Repairing those roads once built properly is the responsibility of the city.
“The way you accept dedication (of infrastructure) is by the recording of the plat and we don’t accept a plat until the developer has built the streets and infrastructure to our standards or posted a bond equal to 150 percent of the estimated cost of doing that,” said Saltillo Mayor Bill Williams.
When Collins was approved to build Park Ridge in 2003, he was required to post a $24,000 certificate of deposit to the city to ensure the infrastructure was properly built but the certificate won’t cover one-third of the cost of fixing the subdivision’s infrastructure problems.
Carlock said residents have talked about going after the developer in court to fix the roads but have been led to believe, if they won their suit, the money available wouldn’t be enough to cover the time and expense of going to court.
Saltillo Alderman Scott Knight brought up the option of having the street dedicated to the city so they could make the repairs. Knight said the developer has effectively washed his hands of the matter and there is no one to take responsibility.
“He got his money and he is gone,” Knight said. “If they were to go to court we still have a problem that’s getting worse. It’s a thing the city will have to do eventually the way I look at it.”
Knight wants to use the $24,000 bond and then team up with Lee County Board to lay asphalt. District 1 Supervisor Phil Morgan said a special assessment tax is about the best they would be able to do.
The assessment is a tax levied against the beneficiaries at no interest to help pay for repairs.
“They are in a bind and we sympathize, but the problem is it’s not a county issue because it’s not a county road.”
Knight said he hopes the city can accept dedication of the road and fix it and strictly follow the new policies moving forward.
He said fixing the subdivision won’t set a precedent because current policies won’t allow new developers to get away with bad infrastructure.
Phone numbers for Fred Collins were either disconnected or unanswered. He did not return messages to comment on this story.
jb.clark@journalinc.com