COLUMBIANA - City officials may be able to patch roads in the Back Bay area of the Arrowhead Lake housing development, but a permanent solution to the bad roads may not be so easy to find.
Dozens of residents of the 10-year-old housing development crowded City Council chambers Tuesday looking for answers to their roadway woes.
Resident Jan Gibba came before council complaining that she had approached a city official six years ago about holes the roads, and she had been told they would be fixed. The city has patched the holes time and again, but she said the city has never made a long-term paving solution for the roadways, which she said get worse after every winter.
"It's discouraging to all of us that the surrounding communities ... all have been paved even when there is construction going on," she said
But Municipal Attorney Dan Blasdell noted the roads there have yet to be dedicated by the city and are still the responsibility of development builder Gary Walter.
City codes state the city will not dedicate the roads in a development until the builder has constructed roads and sidewalks up to the city's standards, which includes adding a top coat of asphalt to the roadways.
While the roads are not yet dedicated and therefore are not the city's responsibility, acting City Manager Jay Groner noted the city has had workers filling in potholes and plowing snow on those roads.
"The city wasn't obliged to come out and fill potholes and do the things it's done," Blasdell explained, saying those actions were favors to those residents.
The city will have to tear up a portion of the roadway to connect the area to a new lift station, and Groner said that lift station may be done in six to eight weeks. Still, he said he would not recommend paving immediately after the station is complete because such action may lead to sinkholes.
The city has a letter of credit with Home Savings and Loan that was re-evaluated in 2009 and should cover the cost of the top coat of asphalt if the builder defaults on the agreement. The letter of credit expires in September but the city is able to renew it and has done so on several occasions.
"We will help you to the full extent of our ability to do so," Blasdell told the development residents.
Another resident was concerned what would happen to the development if Walter declared bankruptcy.
Blasdell assured him the letter of credit still would be valid if that were to happen, and Walter's successor in ownership of the development then would become responsible for bringing the roads up to city standards.
Another resident asked why Arrowhead was having the road problem when newer developments have roads paved and dedicated even as houses are still going up.
Council President Lowell Schloneger said that it not true. Schloneger lives in the Woodland Run development and noted the roads there were in terrible condition for three years.
"It was so muddy you could get stuck in it," he commented.
Schloneger noted residents of that development had several lawsuits with the builder, and some city officials suggested that may be the course of action the Arrowhead Bay residents should take as well.
"Our patience is wearing thin," Gibba said, "just like the roads."