One says he believes the land is a flood dangerl; the other does not.
WARREN -- Trumbull County Engineer John Latell and staff were accused by a developer Thursday of holding back a Champion Township housing venture and making the county inhospitable to future growth.
Latell and his staff, however, said they needed to be sure the high-priced homes to be built wouldn't be flooded out in a major storm.
Dr. Martin Ellis, a Cortland optometrist and a principal owner of Cross Creek Development, met with Latell and other county representatives at a session brokered by Commissioner Daniel Polivka.
"How do we get to where they can start building a home?" Polivka said. "What is the main thing that's holding it up?"
A representative of Valley Title Co. said five months of waiting have resulted in two lost sales; five sales are pending. Gary Taneri, the developer's engineer, maintained the county had been provided all the data it had requested.
"These are nitpicking things that you're doing to prevent this development from going through," Dr. Ellis told Latell. "It's almost criminal. You guys are abusing your power right now, and there's nobody above you."
Cross Creek Phase II would be 16 dwellings on 15 acres valued at more than $200,000 each; 10 homes were built in Phase I. There will be four phases total. The site is 55 total acres off state Route 45 (north of St. William Church), near state Route 305.
"The commissioners want us to keep building in Trumbull County, but I don't know how we can," Ellis continued.
The company has an additional 60 acres to the north of the Cross Creek site and also has land in Newton Falls.
Eventually these ventures, Ellis said, could result in more than 200 homes, $500,000 in annual property taxes and $30 million to $40 million in construction.
Also on hand were Mark Gibbs, another Cross Creek principal; Randy Smith, deputy county engineer; and Trish Nuskievicz, county flood plain administrator.
At one point, Ellis put on his coat and walked away from the meeting room to gather his thoughts.
Latell and Smith stressed that the county had three key concerns: the elevation of the site in relation to the adjacent 100-year flood plain; the effectiveness of a detention pond and its relationship to Young's Run Creek; and how water would escape if it surcharged out of catch basins in the roadway.
These need to be resolved before the plat plan is approved.
The developer maintained that all of the elevations for homes are 5 feet above where any flooding could occur, that an area along the creek is set aside for drainage conservation and that the difference between the county's numbers for water level and the developer's differed by inches.
A box culvert has been built in the creek bed. Ellis said it works perfectly, but Latell said the box culvert is "higher than the flow line of the creek."
The outcome of the afternoon session was that the elevations will be recalculated by Taneri per the suggestion of the county engineer. The engineer can accept a discrepancy on how fast the detention pond fills up after a storm, and there will be a notation on the plat map showing that nothing can obstruct the flow and escape of water from the roadways.
"We put a half a million dollars into this development, so no more questions," Ellis said.