By BRIAN GRAVES
The Bradley County Commission Finance Committee voted 3-2 Monday afternoon to recommend payment to a local builder $33,894 for work he did on Stonehenge subdivision he believes he was ordered to do …
The Bradley County Commission Finance Committee voted 3-2 Monday afternoon to recommend payment to a local builder $33,894 for work he did on Stonehenge subdivision he believes he was ordered to do unnecessarily.
According to a timeline provided to the Finance Committee, the final plat was recorded and signed off on by the Bradley County Regional Planning Commission and road superintendent on April 4, 2010.
"This has all of the sequence of events over the years," said Committee Chairman Milan Blake.
Committee member Charlotte Peak said it does not matter when or if anything was signed.
"The only two things that matter here are the county accepted it and the county accepted the 'as-built' survey [which shows exactly how everything was put in]," Peak said, "The 'as-built' had stormwater on it. Whether they looked at it before or after, [the county] signed and accepted it. They accepted the subdivision."
"If they didn't like the stormwater, they shouldn't have accepted it," she added. "The stormwater plan was in place. it had nothing to do with the builder [Mike Crittenden]. He comes back and is required to fix the stormwater. He should not have been required to fix that."
Peak said a member of the road department at that time told Crittenden several times he could be fined and potentially be held liable for any problems on the road.
"I think the county is liable because somebody told this man to fix the stuff or else," she said. "Whether you agree with that or not, I am hearing the issue is now they waited too long. He did continue to talk to the county to come up with a peaceful resolution. He wants to be fair and reasonable, but it has put a burden on his family for the last four or five years. Right is right and wrong is wrong."
She maintained the county is the one who asserted their authority and "he had no obligation to do it, but he did it."
"He though the county was telling him the correct thing to do and he did it," Peak said. "Time is money for builders. We can't just continue to sit. When are told to so something, we have to do it so we can move on. If we don't get permits, we can't build houses and make money."
"It's not that I don't have some sympathy for someone," said Committee member Dan Rawls. "Clearly, the state statute says the plat does not authorize any of that. And, you set a precedent. You allow this to come forward, then anyone else can use this that has a grievance."
"I think the responsibility would have been on the builder to make sure all the i's were dotted and all the t's were crossed," he said. "If I smell something I don't like about what I'm being told, I don't care who the official is, I am going to verify that myself and I think that's were the responsibility lies. I do not believe the taxpayers are responsible for him not completing his end of the process which is to make sure everything he is told is correct."
Committee member Thomas Crye said he has been to the subdivision.
"For the life of me, I don't see where there was a water drainage issue out there since the retention ponds were built-in and developed and approved," Crye said. "It didn't appear to me that significant of an issue at all."
Committee members Peak, Crye and Mike Hughes voted to recommend approval of the payment to the full commission. Blake and Rawls voted against.
The committee also deferred a decision on using $100,000 over five years from the industrial/tourism fund established with the hotel/motel tax.
Blake said he wanted to speak with Cathy Barrett of the Cleveland Foundation "about some of the details on that and work out those details."
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