Developer forgoes county appeal, agrees to repair roads in Severn subdivision

Seven Oaks residents are skeptical of turnaround

May 16, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Halle Development Corp. has agreed to repair the deteriorating roads in pricey Seven Oaks after an independent survey showed it was not necessary to tear out all the roads and rebuild them from scratch, county officials said.

The county and the company reached the agreement Wednesday shortly before they were to appear before the county Board of Appeals.

County officials had moved to revoke the $1.5 million road construction bond Halle had posted and take over road repairs in the Severn subdivision. Halle had asked the board to review the case.

Under the agreement, the developer will make the repairs and guarantee the road for five years instead of the usual one year, and work will commence July 1, said John Morris, spokesman for the Department of Public Works.

Morris said he did not have the details of what the developer would do to improve Blue Water, Charter Oaks and Town Center boulevards and Quiet Spring Drive, and residents remained skeptical.

"I'm cautiously optimistic," said Zoe Dragoon, who has lived in Seven Oaks for eight years.

"Why, after all these years, would he stop fighting?" she asked. "We have so little trust of our developer and the home owner association. It's not, `Yeah!', it's `Why?' What did they get for this, and what are we going to have to pay in exchange?"

Residents in the development of single-family homes, townhouses and apartments have long complained that the roads were deteriorating, filled with potholes and broken glass that had been mixed into the rough asphalt when the roads were built.

Traveling the streets daily has left residents with repair bills for flat tires, bent axles and worn shock absorbers.

Morris said the county has been negotiating with Halle over how to fix the roads since 1996, when the company first tried to turn them over to the county for public use. The county declined to take over the roads that year because they failed a government inspection, Morris said.

The county granted Halle several extensions to complete the work, but it denied another request last summer and instead notified the developer and his insurer that the county would to call the bond and repair the roads, Morris said.

On Wednesday, Halle withdrew its appeal of the denial of the extension.

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