CANFIELD Developer, condo owners want road's builder to fix it

The committee will need to hear the requests before council can act on zoning changes.
CANFIELD -- A local developer said he agrees with residents of a local condominium development that something should be done to improve their private road.
Scott Owens, owner of Newton Square Co., said at Wednesday's city council meeting that he, too, believes the contractor he hired to install a road for the Newton Square Condo development should make the road right.
Members of the Newton Square Condo Association filed a lawsuit last year against Owens and his company, contending misrepresentation and negligence after the road leading into and throughout the development began to deteriorate.
Both the association and Owens said several meetings were held since 1997 to try to resolve the situation, but the efforts were for naught.
Owens said it is the responsibility of the contractor he hired, J.S. Paris of North Jackson, to repair or replace the work.
"We build condos," he told the 35 people at the meeting. "Streets are something that we do as a job-out -- we hire someone to do that for us."
Owens noted he has since added Paris as a third-party defendant to the lawsuit. Company owner Jim Paris was unavailable to comment today. A pretrial hearing on the matter is scheduled in September, while the case is expected to go to trial next year.
Change sought
In the meantime, members of the condo association asked city council to consider amending the zoning ordinance so future developers and residents need not suffer the same headaches.
Former Councilman Bob Brooks, who spoke on behalf of his fellow condo residents, asked for the changes to ensure that future developers meet city requirements, even though the streets do not always fall under the city's jurisdiction.
In the case of Newton Square, the road is considered a private drive, and zoning inspectors are not required to check on the work. Instead, they and council members are required only to approve the final plans as submitted.
The changes requested include requiring the city engineer to verify the project elevations on the final drawings, considering whether the new roads exceed a specific length, and making sure developers understand they must pay the engineer's cost of inspection for all improvements.
Council President Kevin Hughes, who also sits on the planning and zoning committee for council, advised Brooks and other residents to bring their requests to that committee. He explained that the committee would need to make a recommendation to council as a whole on the matter.

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