SYKESVILLE — The community of Ken Mar Manor has languished for more than two years without proper roads and driveways. One homeowner has a 1,000-foot gravel driveway leading from his home to Ken Mar Drive.
The 16 homeowners of Ken Mar Manor say they hope the county Planning and ZoningCommission will approve a new plan Tuesday for the unfinished roads in their community.
The homeowners have agreed on the developer's new road plan. If the planning commission approves the concept, plat maps can be presented to the county and the work be completed, said Kathleen Lewis, Ken Mar Manor Homeowners Association president.
"This has been a long-running dispute between the developer and county, and the homeowners got caught in the middle," Lewis said.
"The subdivision was not built to the approved plans," said Edmund R. "Ned" Cueman, county planning director. "(Developer Wynne A. Stevens) made accessing changes that turned out to be unacceptable by county standards."
The developer's revised plans also were not presented to the appropriate county departments for approval before work proceeded, Cueman said.
Stevens, owner and president of Stevens Homes Inc., bought the Ken Mar property in 1987 after it had been designed.
The original plan calledfor three roads -- Chantilly, Ken Mar and Beachwood drives -- to serve 23 homes. So far, 16 homes in the $400,000 price range have been built.
"Chantilly was already paved, but Ken Mar was new," Stevens said. "The roads were 12 feet wide -- that's all the county required,a 12-foot width and gravel top, no paving.
"All I did was make it18 feet wide and pave it, and added a curve (to Ken Mar) to make it more attractive."
Instead of building Beachwood to serve three lots, Stevens created an easement for those three homes. The easement, paved and running off Ken Mar, was properly recorded by an attorney before any of the lots were sold, he said.
"The county came out while the road was under construction and allowed $4,500 out of the bond I put up for the work, so they knew what I was doing," he said.
But a July 1989 county inspection found the work contrary to the original approved plan.
John T. "Jack" Sterling, then the director of public works, sent Stevens a letter in August 1989 saying, "I have no other recourse but to advise the county attorney to recover the bond and complete the project according to the approved plans."
Unable to pay contractors for their work, Stevens halted the project. Since then, he and the residents have negotiated with the county to completethe work.
Frustrated by repeated delays, Stevens filed suit against the county commissioners last September, claiming they failed to enforce the public works agreement.
In the suit, Stevens claims thecounty "has taken no steps to complete the improvements necessary and has left the community of Ken Mar in an uncomplete and unattractivestate."
He also says the county threatened to deny him building or use and occupancy permits for construction on his properties and toassess him for additional costs of Ken Mar Manor road work.
Stating that "actions by (the county) have resulted in severe damage to (Stevens') reputation, loss of business and credit and inability to transfer property," Stevens is seeking $150,000 plus court costs.
"I'm asking for $150,000 for depreciation in the value of my property due to failure of the county to complete improvements and difficulty inselling lots," Stevens said.
In an answer to the suit, attorneys for the county denied Stevens' allegations and requested that the case be dismissed. Circuit Court Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. denied the request and set a May 13 trial date.