County hears Farmingdale concerns
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
May 20, 2014 | 1188 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Residents of the Farmingdale subdivision brought their concerns of a new development adjacent to their area to the Bradley County Commission Monday afternoon.

More than 50 residents attended the county Regional Planning Commission last week to express concerns and complaints about what the developer, Trinity Development Group Enterprises, may do that could adversely affect the property values of the community.

The developer is looking to take what would have been a portion of Farmingdale and build a separate subdivision to be called Farmingdale Trails.

Larry Anderson represented the Farmingdale Homeowners Association at Monday’s Commission meeting.

He noted the original plans for Farmingdale were approved in 2002.

“Very recently, a substantial portion of that original plan was carved out and reapproved as a separate subdivision, but still remains within the confines of the original Farmingdale plan,” Anderson said.

He said the action was “taken without any prior knowledge of anyone within the established Farmingdale community or the Farmingdale Homeowners Association board.”

Anderson said the terrain currently causes significant water runoff problems, begging the question about the drainage plan for the new subdivision and how current Farmingdale residents would be protected from further water damage.

He said the subdivision has many established areas and rules, “all intended to protect the property values of the community and funded by the community.”

Anderson asked if the new subdivision would maintain similar protective measures and how they would be enforced or maintained.

“Many or all of these concerns could have easily been mitigated if the established Farmingdale Homeowners Association had been contacted prior to that significant change to an already approved subdivision plan,” Anderson said. “The established Farmingdale community is naturally concerned about any negative effects the new subdivision may have to the existing property values.”

He asked a “formal method” to address the concerns be established between the developer and the homeowners association.

Commissioners who spoke to the subject agreed there was no way to force a conversation between the parties, but expressed the thought a developer would not want to place a substandard development in the area.

Fourth District Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said she had spoken to planning commission members and was familiar with the property.

“That phase of the property went into bankruptcy,” she said when asked if the homeowners association had tried to purchase the property at the time of bankruptcy.

Anderson said the association did not have the resources to take such an action.

“Everything that developer has done has been legal and by the book,” Peak-Jones said. “He submitted new plans for this phase and all of his stormwater plans have been approved according to requirements. There is nothing I can foresee this Commission can do. We have no legal rights or boundaries to tell this new developer what he can and cannot do because he’s already gone through the Planning Commission, he’s gone through the developing stages and everything has been approved.”

Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe noted he lived in Fernwood, a subdivision which had a similar situation with Little Creek and his property values had increased.

Bentley Thomas, county planning director, said last week he was preparing a memorandum on the subject to be presented to the Farmingdale homeowners.

The memo, delivered Monday, repeats the history of the area to which Peak-Jones referred.

Thomas emphasized in the memo the developer must still obtain a final plat approval before lots within the subdivision are divided or sold.

“A final plat has not currently been submitted for Farmingdale Trails,” Thomas said in the memo.

He also noted stormwater plans are given approval by the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Stormwater Division, the county engineer and the county stormwater technician.

Thomas told the Cleveland Daily Banner last week he had no option but to recommend the proposed preliminary plat because the developer had met all of the local and state standards necessary, but said he wanted to help the current homeowners “resolve their concerns.”