Friday, September 5, 2008

Elkins suing to get detention ponds fixed on site of stalled development

ELKINS CITY COUNCIL : Council files suit to mend stagnant ponds
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Friday, September 5, 2008
ELKINS — The city is off to court. At Thursday night’s council meeting, aldermen voted 5-0 to sue all parties involved with the construction of two retention ponds in the Stokenbury Farms Subdivision.

The decision came after two years of deliberation with developers, construction companies and engineers involved with the project. Mayor Jack Ladyman said the ponds are filling up but not draining. No houses have been constructed on the lots. Ladyman said the contractor, Gene Nichols of GN Contractors LLC, has tried to fix the drainage problem with both two-acre ponds but has been unsuccessful.

“ They’re overgrown and the water’s staying, ” Ladyman said. “ We don’t want to leave it there for the people when they move in. ”

City Attorney Danny Wright recommended the city take action on the problem before the $ 2 million bond on the project expires on Sept. 15. Wright said that the case will either go to court or the developers will have to come up with a reasonable bond extension to work on fixing the ponds.

The subdivision is about a mile down Stokenbury Road. Parties included in the lawsuit are Jason Ingalls of Northstar Engineering, Barry Graves of Stokenbury Farms LLC, Merchants Bonding and Nichols.

The city came to a frustrating conclusion after it had to hire its own third-party engineering firm to look at the ponds, confirm that there was a problem and come up with several ways the problem could be remedied.

“ The potential solutions have already been outlined, ” Alderman Jeremy Stevens said.

The council also discussed a way to deal with an animal problem that the city’s been facing for several years. Ladyman has formed a committee to look into other city’s animal control ordinances, mainly the city of Prairie Grove, to adopt and use in Elkins.

“ We are continuing to get a lot of calls on animals, so we do need to keep moving forward on (the ordinance ) we just need to make sure we get it right, ” Ladyman said.

The city also got the results back from environmental tests run on the old Grahm’s Antique building on the corner of Arkansas 16 and First Avenue. The city agreed to sell the building to James R. Ball for $ 35, 000, less than half its appraised value of $ 75, 000. The sale was contingent on an environmental study to ensure that there are no underground

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