Bankrupt subdivisions leave some Loudon County residents in a bind

MIKE KRAFCIK-6 News Reporter

LENOIR CITY (WATE) - One sign of the upheaval in the housing market and the economy over the past few years is half-built subdivisions with streets laid out and only a smattering of houses.  

A subdivision in Loudon County could have taxpayers shouldering some extra costs as a result.

Loudon County Commission tabled a resolution to accept the three roads within Amberly Meadows subdivision.

Residents there wonder who will take care of their roads.  

"We'd just like to go the county to take over our roads, put some street signs up, and eventually do some paving, you know, and some maintenance, you know," said Otis Peterson, an Amberly Meadows resident. "We pay pretty high taxes here and we think they should be taking care of our roads."  

The county says the roads still require a one-and-a-half inch coat of asphalt to meet standards. Estimates are that it will cost around $50,000 to pay for the upgrades.  

The developers of Amberly Meadows went bankrupt, and BB&T, the bank that financed the development, had its line of credit run on it.

"We're caught between a rock and a hard place," said Loudon County Commissioner Brian Jenkins. "We've got compassion for these people, but we're also not trying to set a precedent for a developer's shortfall."

Similar situations are happening at other subdivisions. The owner of Hampton Place in Loudon went bankrupt, too.  

The roads were never accepted by the county. There are no streetlights, not even a cul-de-sac. Many are blaming the banks and the city. 

"We thought we were protected by the city officials, by having performance bonds and letters of credit, but once developers started to go bankrupt, it seemed that like these bonds weren't enforced or these letters of credit weren't called in," said Tim Scott, a Hampton Roads resident.

Residents of the Sweetwater Creek subdivision in Loudon are moving forward after the developer of that neighborhood went bankrupt. BB&T took over ownership of the development.

There are still around 70 empty lots, and the Sweetwater Creek Home Owners Association says HOA members pay dues each year for road maintenance, lighting and lawn care.  

Commissioner Jenkins says commission is waiting to hear the county attorney's opinion on what direction they'll go on Amberly Meadows.  

"It's just a matter of right now who wants to be responsible to bring these to roads to where the county can accept them?" Commissioner Jenkins said.  

Loudon County Commission meets next on June 18.