Residents Of The Greens Stuck With Eroding Open Space Upkeep Becomes Homeowners' Job After Developer Deeds Land To Them

September 19, 1990|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SUN STAFF

WESTMINSTER - After months of battling Peer Construction Co. of Reisterstown, residents of The Greens have realized they are stuck with eroding land off Windsor Court.

The Greens of Westminster Homeowners Association was notified Aug. 10 by the Baltimore County developer that the former "tot lot" and other open space properties had been turned over to it, making it members' responsibility to seed and maintain the areas.

However, no one from the association inspected the property or formally accepted it before it was deeded to them.

"When someone buys a house, they look it over before it's turned over," said Dennis Frazier, the association's president. "Just because (the property's) turned over to the association, I don't see why this should be any different."

The deed -- dated Aug. 1 -- was signed by Nathan Metz and Nathan Scherr, owners of Peer Construction and developers of The Greens. The signature of association members is not required to turn over the property, said Thomas B. Beyard, city planning director.

"The deed is simply a legal instrument that transfers property," he said, adding that the city has sometimes received land it didn't sign for.

Nor were county officials required to inspect the property, even though it had a record of sediment-control problems, including a $4,200 fine levied against Peer by the Maryland Department of the Environment for violations cited in summer 1989.

Officials from Peer, who have not returned a reporter's repeated calls to their office, paid the fine in June.

"We don't have any control over when someone turns a piece of property over to someone else," said Scott Keefer, chief grading and sediment-control inspector for Carroll, who said he feels the area has been stabilized.

"We haven't done a follow-up since the end of June, and as far as we're concerned, there's no need to," he said. "We are not holding a bond on the property, and no one has asked us to do an inspection."

If someone should complain about sediment control, Keefer said, he would call the homeowners association, since it now owns the property.

Sediment control has not been the only complaint against Peer. Beyard said that several items on the city's punch list -- things such as streets, sewers and lighting that are checked off as completed -- are still not done.

"We have our hands full with that developer and the things they have to do for us," said Beyard. "There's some lighting and things that still need to be completed."

However, residents of The Greens are resigned to raising their association dues and fixing the mess Peer left behind, Frazier said.

"I don't think we have any steps left," said Frazier, adding that there are no plans to take legal action. "We'll just take care of it."

Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990

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