A small group of residents visited Laurie City Hall Wednesday evening, March 13, to ask the board of aldermen to accept the roads within their subdivision as city streets. The contingent of elderly citizens live in Wellington Woods subdivision on Chelsie Rd. (formerly Lake Rd. 5-27).
The streets are named and have city street signs only for 9-1-1 addressing purposes. The streets are private roads — never dedicated to the city because the development company of former area resident Dan Spanburg reportedly went under in the midst of the national housing bubble burst before meeting city requirements for street dedication eligibility. Completed in the early 2000s, the first — and so far only — completed phase of the subdivision includes 12 homes. Since the developer's financial troubles, the Wellington Woods residents have had to foot the bill for snow removal and maintenance of the streets on their own. And now they are asking the city to take over the burden as they are at a loss of what else to do. They are also concerned about the issue's impact on their property values.
The streets were paved in 2007, and the developer was beginning the process of trying to get the streets dedicated to the city when financial hardship struck, resident Jean Lee said. According to city records, several attempts were made — the last being in 2009 — to get test boring done on the streets so they could be considered eligible for consideration by the board, Mayor Herb Keck said. But there was never any response. Lee and fellow Wellington Woods residents entreated the board to go ahead and accept the streets anyway as they have been citizens of Laurie for several years now. Lee was under the common misunderstanding — according to Keck — that they pay property tax to the city as residents. The City of Laurie does not levy any property tax and relies almost solely on sales tax revenues — which have also been hit by the tough economy.
While residents said they believed that the streets would meet city criteria, test boring still needs to be done to prove it. Though Laurie Public Works Director Ed Young was out at Wellington Woods when a lot of the paving work was done, only an engineering firm can confirm through testing and analysis whether both the surface and subsurface were done to specifications, Young said. Keck advised the residents to have test boring done so the streets could be considered by the board, but the residents said they wanted the city to pay for the test boring.
While many city streets were paved by the city with an earlier transportation bond issue, all streets within the city at that time had to be brought up to certain specifications in order to be paved, according to Young. That project was completed prior to the completion of Wellington Woods streets. Sherman Ridge Rd. is one of the city streets that was not brought up to standards and so is still unpaved, Young said.
Page 2 of 2 - Streets within Ozark Meadows subdivision are an instance of curbed and paved roads in a subdivision that are not city streets but private roads because the developer has not pursued dedicating the streets to the city. Last week, the board of aldermen said they would take the request of the homeowners under advisement and would see about getting a general cost estimate for getting the approximately 1,000 feet of roadway tested.