The county filed suit against the developer of Seven Oaks residential community yesterday, attempting to collect the third and final payment for an elementary school planned for the Odenton site.
The $2.1 million installment was due July 1, and Deputy County Attorney Stephen LeGendre said the county had not received payment.
LeGendre said eight months of talks with the Halle companies of Silver Spring had failed, and his only recourse was to take the case to county Circuit Court. "There are no active proposals on the table,"he said.
This is the second time developer Warren Halle has failed to make a payment for the school. In July 1990, Halle purposely defaulted on the second installment -- also $2.1 million -- saying the county reneged on a deal to enlarge its Patuxent Waste Water TreatmentPlant.
Without the plant expansion, Halle said last year, he can build only about 2,900 homes in Seven Oaks, about half the 4,700 originally planned. The reduction of homes, Halle contended, eliminates the need for a new school.
Halle has sued the county for $18 million, seeking the money the company had invested in roads and parks and the first $500,000 school payment it made in 1989, when it signed thecontract with the county.
Halle had signed a letter of credit with a bank guaranteeing he would pay the second installment, and in November he failed to get a court injunction preventing the county from cashing the letter of credit when he defaulted on the payment.
Sovran Bank paid the $2.1 million, giving the county a total of$2.6 million toward building the school.
But Halle never signed a letter ofcredit with the county for the third installment, prompting LeGendreto warn in December that he might withhold building and occupancy permits in Seven Oaks, which would have effectively halted any new construction on the site and prevented people who had just bought homes from moving in.
But ongoing negotiations, about which neither the county nor Halle will comment, apparently forestalled any move to withhold permits.
Yesterday, LeGendre left open the possibility of pulling permits, but said he would not comment on any specific action hemay take. In the lawsuit, the county also is asking the court to order Halle to hand over the deed to the 16-acre school site.
No one from the Halle companies could be reached for comment yesterday.