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Property owners hope court can help get subdivision roads fixed

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
Residents of a subdivision in China Grove are taking the developer to court, demanding the streets be fixed.
Sixteen property owners in the Cornerstone subdivision off N.C. 152 West on Barnhardt Road have filed a complaint against Cornerstone Builders of Kannapolis, citing the plat certification that Cornerstone would maintain the roads to N.C. Department of Transportation standards until taken over by the state.
Jeffrey M. Miller, Randall W. Sheets and family members are named as the defendants.
Joey Edwards, one of the property owners, moved into his new home in Cornerstone in 1997. Edwards and other homeowners believed the two streets ó Slate Drive and Granite Lane ó were on the state highway maintenance program. In 2006 when a pothole began eating away the entryway to the development, Edwards contacted the Department of Transportation. Officials said no one had ever petitioned for the streets to be accepted.
State road officials then checked the development and found problems with pavement and drainage, advising Edwards the problems would have to be fixed before the state would take them over.
Richard L. “Dick” Huffman, attorney for the Cornerstone property owners, said he has talked repeatedly with the developers and at one time thought the issue would be resolved without going to court. He said the developers said they were awaiting bids from companies to make the repairs. After several months, Huffman said he was then told they weren’t going to make the repairs.
Huffman said estimates of the cost of repair run between $30,000 and $50,000.
“It’s a shame this has happened. They bought this property with the understanding that things would be maintained to a certain level. Nothing happened for years and (the streets) are falling apart,” Huffman said. “On the public documents, the developers said they would maintain the streets. We want them to live up to what they said they would do.”
Huffman acknowledged some homeowners have caused drainage problems, but they have agreed to pay for repairs. “The homeowners know there are some issues they will be responsible for,” he said.
The legal complaint also asks Cornerstone Builders to remove a dead tree, mow and maintain two vacant lots that Cornerstone still owns.
The complaint was filed May 23 in Rowan County Superior Court, civil division.
Cornerstone filed for an extension to respond.
Tom Brooke, a China Grove attorney who is representing Cornerstone Builders, did not respond to a call from the Post. Neither did Sheets.

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