Homeowners who bought homes in the Tymber Creek subdivision in the Cleveland community have few options when it comes to fixing poorly-built streets. They were truly caught in a perfect storm. As the economy tanked, pressure on developers grew exponentially. Developers of Tymber Creek were foreclosed on, leaving them with no incentive, or money, to make repairs to roads in the subdivision. Johnston County rules in effect at the time the development was established didn’t call for set asides to take care of problems in the event the developers didn’t live up to their end of the bargain.
Now, streets are crumbling, water stands in the roadways, chipping away at still more sections of the roadway and none of the parties responsible for overseeing the property’s development are likely to take on the responsibility of fixing the problems.
The state of North Carolina, which likely would have one day owned the roads once the development was complete, has no responsibility to fix the problem because they are not state-maintained streets. And with money in state government in short supply everywhere thanks to legislative cutbacks, DOT most likely has other, higher-volume places to spend its resources.
That leaves property owners with an impossibly large bill – estimated in the $200,000 range – to pay or they will likely have to live with whatever semblance of a road remains.
It’s a shame because it devalues the properties buyers have already purchased and it makes it much more difficult for property owners to sell properties when they want to, at the price they want.
Johnston County has fixed its part of the problem by establishing rules that require developers to put up performance bonds to guarantee the work they promise to do. But it’s not a retroactive step and the folks in Tymber Creek don’t benefit from the Monday morning quarterbacking by the county.
There is a certain amount of buyer-beware responsibility assigned to the property owners in this development. We don’t necessarily think they should be let off scot-free by a white knight dressed in government clothing.
But we do believe there is a way Johnston County can make up for its lack of oversight in this project by working on a cost-sharing scenario which would spread the burden out among the county and the effected residents.
Doing that would protect Johnston County’s interest in keeping tax values high, while exacting some investment from the property owners who took a risk that didn’t pay off when they bought in a new development where there were no guarantees they would get what they were paying for.