THE PROBLEM The Town of Clayton has fielded questions from residents the last several years over the paving of roads in developments, especially the streets in Huntington Mills.
The problem for the town in the past though has been the lack of a bonding requirement for developers that would require them to topcoat the roads; therefore, with no bonding stipulation town officials couldn’t require the developer to finish the roads.
The previous developer went into bankruptcy but the development was purchased by Lenape Builders last year; the developer has already worked with the town in dealing with other issues in the development.
WHAT’S NEW? In an effort to not have similar issues in the future, the Planning & Zoning Commission has been working on an amendment to the town’s Subdivision Ordinance that, if eventually approved by council, will include construction improvement standards and require performance bonds to ensure the completion of developer-required improvements.
A hearing was held on April 2 to allow for residents to speak for or against the amendment. The lone resident in attendance was former council member Wayne Stover.
The amendment is as follows: “Prior to the issuance of certificates of approval, a surety guarantee bond acceptable to the Town Solicitor shall be posted in an amount equal to 150 percent of the estimated cost to the Town for work required in the Construction Improvement Program. No occupied dwelling unit shall be without complete facilities including paved streets and walks for a period of time of more than one year.”
Councilman Dave Letterman said the main purpose of the amendment is to make sure the town is covered in terms of paving the streets with future building. It’s not the town’s responsibility to top coat streets in developments but residents have been asking the town to pave unfinished roads.
“We were unaware that we should do this before,” Letterman said. “We were unaware that we needed it [bonding requirements].”
Town Foreman Jeff Hurlock wasn’t at the meeting but further explained the need for the bonding requirement on Friday. He said the performance bond will require developers to topcoat roads and finish sidewalks before a certificate of approval is issued.
He said Huntington Mills is 80 percent complete but still has a number of roads without a topcoat; however, he said the town is working with the developer to finish the streets.
“There’s no topcoat on any of the streets because we didn’t require a bond. Building was going so fast that our plan was to allow them to completely build out and then put a topcoat on so you didn’t have to worry about roads being torn up,” Hurlock said.
He said topcoating roads when work is being done elsewhere in a development could result in roads being tore up because of heavy equipment. Moreover, because the builder also owned Old Country Farm, officials thought they would have leverage.
“If they didn’t put topcoat in Huntington Mills we were going to stop them in Old County Farm. Unfortunately they lost everything,” Hurlock said.
Hurlock did point out that there have been similar issues in other developments.
WHAT’S NEXT? Planning & Zoning voted to recommend Clayton Town Council approve the amendment. Council will vote on the recommendation at the Monday, April 14 council meeting.