A group of homeowners in the Country Place Subdivision are looking for someone to fix their road - Honeysuckle Trail. So far, the group has found nothing but dead ends when trying to fix their potholed and crumbling street.
In the past year Sherril Pendergast, one of the homeowners, has sent multiple letters to Don Stephens, who is the developer of Country Place Subdivision. Byste, Inc., a company founded by Stephens and Marcus Byrd, developed Country Place subdivision in 1981.
The only response that the homeowners received from Stephens came after the second letter that they sent to him.
According to Pendergast, Stephens sent the homeowners a letter from Dawsonville Mayor Joe Lane Cox claiming that the roads belonged to the county.
In the letter Cox states, The roads in Country Place Subdivision, Dogwood Way, Honeysuckle Trail, Laurel Lane, were all built to Dawson County specifications beginning in 1981. Byste, Inc. maintained them for one year; after which time, these roads were adopted and became a part of the Dawson County public road system.
Cox also says in the letter than he was the Dawson County Commissioner of Roads and Revenue when Country Place was developed.
I built the road to county specs at that time and they adopted it after one year, said Stephens. Now, they say it has to be widened and built to current county specs and Byste, Inc. doesnt own it.
However, the county has been unable to find any record of the transfer.
In April 2005, Byste, Inc. transferred Laurel Trail - one of the roads in Country Place - to Dianne Stump pursuant to a Warranty Deed, which wouldnt have been possible if the county owned the roads.
There also is not a signature from the Commissioner of Dawson County on the plat showing Honey Suckle Trail as of 1991.
If the road had been adopted by the county, there would be a signature on the plat, County Attorney Joey Homans maintains.
Stephens also signed a Road Maintenance Agreement, which states, Developer has retained title to the roads and streets serving said subdivision, and has provided for the upkeep and maintenance of all streets since 1981. Developer agrees to be responsible for maintaining all existing streets, in their present condition, which developer owns in Country Place subdivision and acknowledges that he will make every reasonable effort to have Dawson County accept said streets and will as soon as possible dedicate said streets to Dawson County for permanent, public maintenance of same.
The Road Maintenance Agreement was signed in March 1986.
Pendgerast - like many of the residents - assumed the road was public when they moved in two years ago.
Were not sure what our next step is, she said. There is some record out there that proves it one way.
The homeowners have met with the county and Chairman Mike Berg has offered to speak with Byste, Inc. and Stephens about the condition of the roads.
Pendergast plans to continue researching the subject, before moving forward. She plans to contact mayor Cox to see if he has records of the roads being accepted into the county.
We can spend our money on litigation or spend on the road, Pendergast said.
The homeowners have received estimates that place the cost at repairing the road at $33,000. That would only bring the road up the 1986 standard and the county would only consider adopting the roads if they were brought to current standards.
Current county regulations require that private roads are to remain private for 18 months. Private road adoptions are handled by the countys Public Works. Once the roads have been maintained privately for 18 months and Public Works agrees that the roads are built and maintained to spec, the county will adopt the roads.
We dont know what happened to the paperwork, Stephens said. There is nothing down there (Honeysuckle) that belongs to us so why do [the homeowners] think we should fix it?