Still no answers for residents of Clay Township development

By on August 17, 2016

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By Marylouise Sholly

Questions of financial responsibility continue to swirl around the Wildflower Pond Development, and residents of the development say they are fed up with the confusion that’s been going on for years.

Although the development of 92 homes was built in the early 2000s, the streets of the development have not been dedicated to the township, so the township bears no responsibility for them.

Sidewalks are in such a state of disrepair that residents want to know if they are liable if someone trips. They also wonder, they told the supervisors, if a federal inspection would find the sidewalks in defiance of ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) guidelines.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 to guarantee people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Residents of the development say the sidewalks make it difficult for people with walkers or those who are wheelchair bound to travel through the development.

Another issue is that the homeowners’ association planned for the residents never got off the ground.

A dozen residents of the development attended the monthly Clay Township supervisors’ meeting to see if any progress had been made relating to these concerns, and others, that they brought before the supervisors last month.

“The HOA is dead in the water,” said resident Fred Thomas of . “We need to have something to work with in order for us to make any progress.”

If the sidewalks are not ADA compliant, homeowners are worried they might have to foot the bill to make the necessary changes.

Development residents want to know who bears responsibility for the streets, the storm water retention basin and the sidewalks &tstr; the township, the developer, the homeowners, or the virtually non-existent homeowners’ association?

A meeting scheduled for early August with homeowners was disbanded after the attorney for the development’s owner, Dr. Carlton Busco, didn’t show up.

“We’re still floating in never-never land and obviously, there’s enough history here that something has to transpire,” Thomas said.

The supervisors deferred questions to their solicitor, Jennifer Mejia of Mejia Law Group.

Mejia has been poring over documents concerning the development that go back to 2002, she said, adding that she wants an opportunity to review everything with the board before making any decisions. All matters concerning the development will be subject to the board’s approval.

“There is potential for litigation between the parties involved,” Mejia said. “That’s why we need to review what we find with the board.’

So far, Mejia has discovered that the HOA was formed primarily to maintain the storm water basin in the development, she said.

“The reason it was created in the first place is for that basin,” Mejia said. “The retention basin was the limited purpose of the HOA; sidewalks and roadways are outside of the scope of the HOA.”

When it comes to those issues, three parties are involved, Mejia said; the developer, the township, and the homeowners.

“But how that plays out (is unknown),” Mejia added.

As the streets have not been dedicated to the township, they are still controlled by the developer, Mejia told the residents.

Chairman Tim Lausch told the residents that the township will be responsible for the roadways after the streets are dedicated, while homeowners will be responsible for the sidewalks in front of their homes.

“But are the sidewalks ADA-acceptable as they are now?” asked homeowner Rick Bernarduci of Queen Anne’s Way.

After the original sidewalks were installed, they were modified by the township a few years later to alleviate some problems, Bernarduci said.

“We need to know your position &tstr; are you going to accept them the way they are?” Bernarduci asked. “Because if there’s a suit, it will be between the township and the developer.”

Thomas asked if the sidewalks even meet township code regulations because they are cracked, broken and uneven.

“We’re worried about the ADA inspectors coming in and saying they’re not right and telling us we have to re-do the sidewalks,” said Ernest Lindquist Jr. “We’d like to know for sure and we’d like to have it on paper.”

“I cannot provide that assurance to you at this time,” Mejia said. “I certainly don’t have the authority to do that without the board’s approval.”

Mejia said she will have information for the homeowners by the end of the week.

“This has been going on for entirely too long,” Bernarduci said. “I don’t know how we’re going to resolve it.”

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