July 16, 2008

Prichard Farms Developer Told to Correct Deficiencies

By Michael A. Sawyers, Cumberland Times News, Md.

Jul. 16--FROSTBURG -- Frostburg officials have told the developers of the Prichard Farms housing complex to correct a number of infrastructure deficiencies by Oct. 1 or the city would start using the firm's $1,989,851 surety bond to take care of matters.

In a June 30 letter to Frostburg Associates, City Administrator John Kirby said work must begin by Aug. 1 and be completed in two months. Among the listed items are:

--Implement an interim stormwater diversion plan that was approved in May by the Allegany County Soil Conservation District.

--Construct three earthen dikes.

--Install a collection sump.

--Repair and anchor timber structures in a sand filter.

--Install dry wells.

--Regrade and stabilize a drainage ditch along Cherry Run including the removal of the stone check dams.

--Correct significant water ponding on a sidewalk.

"Should the city determine that the developer is not going to meet obligations regarding public infrastructure, we can avail ourselves of the bond money to have the work completed correctly," Kirby said Tuesday.

Matthew Brewer, a Frostburg Associates partner along with Kevin Bell, said Wednesday that the associates would be meeting very soon with the city to talk about the letter and determine what will be done.

"At this point, we are going to focus immediately on the issues raised by the city in its letter before we look at the longer term for Prichard Farms," Brewer said.

An attempt by the Times-News to contact Bell was not successful.

Kirby said the city also wants to re-negotiate an existing sewer tap agreement for Prichard Farms, where the Maryland Department of the Environment had approved 445 taps to be placed during nine years because of Frostburg Associates' plan to construct more than 44 homes.

Currently, 26 homes have been built and 21 are occupied, according to Richard Harris, the city's director of development.

"This agreement locks up our taps," Kirby said. "If (Prichard Farms) is not going anywhere, this agreement keeps us from allocating the taps to other projects that may be progressing. For example, the WODA project (Braddock's Greene) is going to construction later this summer. There is expansion at Braddock Estates and we hope the new (Allegany Business Center @ FSU) will continue to develop. There is a pad behind the Rite Aid along Route 36 that is ready to accommodate construction."

Susan Gray, a homeowner at Prichard Farms who has spoken publicly about problems at the development, told the Times-News a week ago that she and other development residents have retained an attorney to represent them in dealings with Frostburg Associates.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at [email protected]


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