When neighbors Allen Pierce and Rodney Colquit moved into the Old Mill Trace subdivision about five years ago, neither man gave much thought to who owned the roads in front of their homes.
But since that time, the men, members of the homeowners association, have learned more about roads than either ever cared to.
“They are not county roads,” Mr. Pierce said. “So the county won’t repair them. And we can’t get the developer to repair them.”
Catoosa County Commissioner Ken Marks said the county’s rapid growth has been a challenge and strained county resources.
“There is some issue that comes up on a daily basis, with all the federal and state mandates and new laws,” Mr. Marks said. “The commission has made some changes and increased protection for the homeowner, as well as the developer.”
Mr. Pierce and Mr. Colquit, and the other 180 Old Mill Trace households, claim they are victims of one of those a policies the county is revising.
Traditionally, it was left to developers to build roads according to county specifications. Roads that met the standards became public roads, maintained and repaired by the county.
According to county records, Old Mill Trace’s roads were started in 2001 by developer ELJ Properties of Hixson and failed to meet county specifications, and the developer has refused to take further action. Jeff Carmack, one ELJ’s principals, when reached by phone Friday evening asked to be called later. A later call was answered by voice mail.
The homeowners’ association recently sued the developer and asked the county to revoke the developer’s $118,000 bonds, Mr. Colquit said.
“We decided to file suit when we learned that the developer was trying to get his bonds back,” Mr. Colquit said. “That’s probably not enough to fix the roads, but it’s better than nothing.”
The roads are buckling and sinking in spots. Mr. Pierce has filled one hole in front of his house with concrete.
County records obtained by the homeowners show no response from county attorneys to a former inspector’s request in 2006 to revoke ELJ’s bonds. County Attorney Chad Young said the records are incomplete.
“They don’t have our responses,” he said. “I have notified the bonding company, and I hope that with their lawsuit and the bonds, we can come up with enough to fix the roads.”
There is no official estimate but homeowners think it may cost as much as $400,000 to bring all the roads up to code.
Chuck Taylor, county roads department director, said many neighborhoods have similar problems.
“(We) have looked at five or six (subdivisions), and so far only recommended one of them for acceptance,” said Mr. Taylor, who was hired six months ago.
Hiring a roads inspector and becoming stricter about accepting roads are among policy changes being made, Mr. Taylor said.
“In the past, the county has accepted substandard roads, and we are paying the price now,” he said.