CLAYTON -- Homeowners in Wynston Ways subdivision will be relieved to find out that the town is taking on what could have been a $15,000 landscaping project.
In August, a resident in the subdivision contacted the town’s zoning administration officer to complain that the subdivision’s berms weren’t being maintained, resulting in a rat and snake infestation in the tall grasses.
When the zoning officer and the town planning director went to inspect the berms, essentially landscaped mounds of dirt that buffer the subdivision from passing traffic, they found that they weren’t landscaped according to town code.
The town could have fined the Homeowner’s Association $75 a day for not having the correct berm landscaping, but chose to wait as the HOA attempted to work out the problem with the subdivision’s original developers, who they felt should pay for the landscaping.
Since the development was built in 1999, the developers, now Centex/Pulte, said they no longer had the paperwork documenting what was required of them by the town at that time.
However, the town has put that argument to rest. After a closed session at Monday’s town council meeting, the council decided to take care of the landscaping. Planning director David DeYoung said that the town visited Wynston Ways in 2006 to inspect the last phase of the development, and never inspected the berms.
“What we determined was that when our inspectors were out there inspecting that phase back in 2006, they managed to miss that requirement, and because they missed it and Centex didn’t put it in at the time, we didn’t feel it was appropriate to hold the homeowner’s association to a higher standard than we can hold ourselves,” DeYoung explained. “How could they have known it was required if the town didn’t require it to be put in?”
DeYoung said the statute of limitations has more or less run out on trying to pin the problem on Centex/Pulte, and the berms need to be landscaped.
The town will install shrubs and trees along Amelia Church Road and Wynston Road. While it would have cost the homeowners roughly $15,000 to complete the project, it will cost the town approximately half that, since the town can use its own crews and purchase the plants wholesale.
“It’s the best for the neighborhood and the best for us,” DeYoung said.
Once landscaped, DeYoung said the Homeowner’s Association will have to pick up the responsibility for maintaining the berms, which they had not been doing before.
“Recently they acknowledged that they had not been maintaining the berm and their landscape contractor acknowledged that they hadn’t been mowing it like their contract said,” DeYoung said.
For Wynston Ways homeowner Rudy Montolvo, the lack of maintenance was what caused him to call the zoning officer in the first place. His backyard runs up to the berm, which he said he had taken to mowing himself after copperheads started showing up on his property.