Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dealing with Duplicitous Developers

The Benton County Planning Board this week unanimously denied a time extension request for a controversial condominium development known as Grandview Heights on Beaver Lake. E&S Development of New York had asked for a two-year extension for the multi-story project the board approved back in November 2005. Their lawyer claimed that E&S had spent nearly $2 million on preliminary dirt work but said the economic recession, cautious banks, and legal actions against the company stalled construction work, leaving the project with unfinished roads and little progress during the past year.

In denying the extension for the project,
Planning Board members said developers had not worked to meet the original stipulations for approval. They were concerned that the developers had not secured state environmental approval of their wastewater system, that they had not secured a storm water permit, that roads leading to the site had not been improved, that they had not provided a completion bond, and that a lawsuit is pending to decide who has clear title to the property. Sound familiar?

E&S Development's lawyer, Courtney Little, complained that
the Board's action send the message that environmentalist opponents of controversial developments can stall projects until they are denied and said the rules should be more supportive of development and developers. Heard that one before?

The developers will decide in the next two weeks whether to
appeal the decision or resubmit plans to the Planning Office. They could just shuffle some paper and rename it Hill Place or something like that. It should fly right through. That worked in Fayetteville.

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