Milton officials and residents of the Chestnut Crossing development are ready to begin a process that would complete necessary road and sidewalk improvements to dedicate the streets to the town.
Chestnut Crossing is a 25-lot subdivision on 12 acres off Chestnut Street, neighboring Dogfish Head’s brewery. The subdivision held its grand opening in August 2005 with the idea that it would be a “unique semi-custom community within the town limits of Milton,” according to a September 2005 Cape Gazette release.
The project was developed by Atlantic Land Development LLC, with 21 of the 25 lots having had homes put on them. Bob Gray, the point person on behalf of Chestnut Crossing homeowners, said around 10 years ago, a punch list was developed by the town’s engineers, Pennoni Associates, with construction items that needed to be completed before the streets could be dedicated to the town, which would then be responsible for maintenance.
The developer disagreed with the list, Gray said, and nothing was done. Then, the developer became insolvent and the homeowners were left trying to figure out how the punch list would be completed. Gray said finding paperwork related to the development was a difficult task; the town did not even know it had a completion bond on hand until paperwork was found within town hall. Gray said the town now has around $73,000 from the bond to complete the work, but increases in costs from 10 years ago to now have seen the price of the punch list items rise to an estimated $323,000.
Items on the list include replacing 626 linear feet of curbs, repaving the roads, repairing and replacing storm inlets, installing two Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks, landscaping, trees, and gazebos and benches.
“The HOA is cutting the grass in the common area and paying the electric bill for the streetlights, but the HOA is controlled by the developer at this point,” Gray said. He said the developer wanted to turn over control of the development to the HOA, but the residents could not do that because the town would not give the residents a hold harmless agreement for the costs of the repairs.
“Once we get an agreement with the town, we can go back to the developer and say, ‘Alright, we’re ready to take over the HOA,’ and would get the developer out of the picture,” Gray said.
Gray and the Chestnut Crossing residents approached the town council in April about working with town officials to complete the punch list.
At council’s June 6 meeting, Mayor John Collier said, “The streets didn’t get finished in a timely fashion and now they have to be. The developer went out of business. We don’t have any assets to chase. Now we have this punch list and there are some items that I am of the personal opinion the town should not be obligated to provide. The town is interested in taking care of everything from back of curb to back of curb.”
Gray said the end game for residents is to have the town take over things like the streets and streetlight maintenance; then the community can address other items on the punch list like trees and gazebos. Collier suggested cutting several items off the punch list, starting with the proposed 44 trees, which he said were proposed in bad locations, and general landscaping, which is not the town’s responsibility.
When Collier asked residents if they were OK with cutting out proposed brick pavers at the entrance, Chestnut Crossing homeowners in attendance said they could live without them. Collier then ran down the list:
“There’s a call for gazebos.”
Collier said the town is open to fixing the streets within the development and is seeking funding other than town taxpayer money. Gray said once the streets issue is resolved, the homeowners can work to amend Chestnut Crossing’s plat plan to exclude whatever items are removed from the punch list. Town Manager Kristy Rogers was tasked with working with Gray to complete the punch list.