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Town joins suit

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to intervene in a lawsuit between the developer, the designer and the contractor of The Farm at Willow Creek at its meeting Thursday, Oct. 9.

The Farm at Willow Creek, a subdivision off Evans Road, has had a leaking stormwater drainage system for more than two years. The leak has allegedly caused erosion and the collapse of a road in the subdivision and a sidewalk off Evans Road.

The road collapse was fixed in fall 2006 but the underlying drainage problem was not.

Certain parts of the subdivision are still closed to traffic and construction because of the possibility of more cave-ins.

For the past two years, developer Chip Leonard has been in litigation with Blount Excavating and designer Jordan, James and Goulding for the costs of the initial repair of the road and for actually fixing the entire leaking system.

Following a homeowners’ association meeting in Town Hall, subdivision residents addressed the Board during citizen’s forum.

“As the homeowners, our frustration continues … what is happening with the roads and the stormwater drainage system?” Mike Garl, lot owner at The Farm at Willow Creek, said.

“This has been going on for two years now and I think people are losing patience,” lot owner Jan Santoro said.

“We just feel like right now the city [Farragut] should step

in. It is a mess out there. People can’t sell their lots … people are afraid to build a home out there.

“I would think the city of Farragut would be interested in getting this thing handled,” she added.

“I understand that what you all would prefer is that the Town take its money and go out there and repair whatever the problem is. I don’t think the Town is ready to do that any more than you are ready to take your money and go out there,” Town Attorney Tom Hale said.

However, Hale said recent changes in the status of the lawsuit have encouraged the Town to intervene.

“Apparently, the lawyers for the developer [Leonard] have moved to withdraw from the lawsuit. They are not moving the case forward … so that leaves kind of a void,” Hale said.

Hale said the Town would join the lawsuit to pressure the other parties to fix the problem.

Garl asked the Board for a timeline for fixing the drain-age system and roads.

Hale added there was no timeline; the lawsuit, even if the Town should enter it, would simply have to play out.

“We don’t have control over the timing issues. We will pursue the claims that we have in an attempt to bring them to a conclusion,” Hale said.

“If the Town were to intervene, it might be helpful if the homeowners’ association would also intervene. … That would give us sort of a two-prong attack, each with different rights and interests,” he added.

The homeowners present said entering the lawsuit would be too expensive.

“I certainly understand the frustration of the residents and the lot owners. This is a major step for the Town to become involved in this lawsuit,” Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III said.

“We will spend a lot of money and you say you’re not prepared to join us in that lawsuit, so we must carry the ball forward,” he added.

After an executive session, the Board, minus Alderwoman Dot LaMarche, who was absent, voted unanimously to intervene in the lawsuit.


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