Westminster weighs court action against developer of The Greens

September 06, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- The City Council is considering going to court to force the developer of The Greens subdivision to finish work ranging from laying sidewalks to bringing the storm water pond up to city standards.

John S. Kaylor, president of the subdivision's homeowners association, reported last week that city officials promised action within six months.

"The mayor said that the city is going to pursue Peer Construction Co. to try to finish these items," Mr. Kaylor announced at the association meeting Wednesday night. He said he was told the city is "putting together some kind of legal action."

Mayor W. Benjamin Brown was reported on vacation last week. Through his secretary, he referred questions on the planned action to Public Works Director Thomas B. Beyard.

Mr. Beyard declined to confirm plans for a lawsuit, but he said the city attorney has been researching the history of The Greens, a 700-unit subdivision whose construction has been phased over two decades and involved several developers. The research "takes a tremendous amount of time," he said.

A suit is one option, but the city attorney may recommend other actions, and the final decision will rest with the City Council, Mr. Beyard said.

He said he could not say what other action might be taken.

The city government has lost the leverage of a performance bond, a construction guarantee all developers are required to post before they begin construction. If a developer fails to complete items such as streets and storm drains, the local government deducts the cost of completing the work from the performance bond. The rest of the bond is returned to the developer.

Peer Construction's performance bond was in the form of a letter of credit from Maryland National Bank. The letter of credit expired in March 1989, unnoticed by the city government staff.

Martin B. Fleischman, Peer Construction general manager, could not be reached Friday for comment on the prospect of city action against the development company.

Mr. Fleischman maintained in earlier letters to city officials thatthe storm-water pond and other public works items are no longer Peer Construction's concern. He wrote that the developer turned over ownership of the pond and responsibility for the public works agreement to the homeowners' association in December 1990. Association representatives have said they knew nothing of the transfer.

City Attorney John B. Walsh Jr. said he expects to discuss legal action with the council at its Sept. 14 meeting. The discussion is expected to be closed to the public.

Peer Construction Co. attorney Avrohom Hoschander could not be reached for comment Friday.

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