Forsyth County is taking steps to remedy a neighborhood’s road issues which neighbors have said impacts the look, cleanliness and health of the community.
Forsyth County Commissioners voted 4-0, with District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills absent, to approve a resolution to approve, on a time-sensitive basis, a bond worth about $60,000 as an emergency measure to repair roads in the Waterford subdivision in west Forsyth. Work is expected to start on Nov. 26.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize,” said Commission Chairman Todd Levent after the approval. “Unfortunately, we didn’t know this was happening or we would have acted on your behalf a lot sooner to help you guys out. We do apologize for your inconveniences.”
Bond funds will be given to developer Century Communities, which took over the neighborhood from original developer PMC Aaron Sosebee in 2016. Century will use those funds and its own to patch repair on the base layer of the road before the final topping is done.
Resident Bill Bierschenk said at the meeting that Waterford, which is made up of about 60 homes, first started encountering issues in September when Century removed about 90 percent of the asphalt, which was in bad repair.
“They found that the roadbed beneath that needed further repair in order to top the roads,” Bierschenk said. “We sat for about two weeks having transitions between paved and unpaved roads with drop-offs of four to six inches.”
Common concerns among the community were the damage to residents’ vehicles and the environment caused by gravel and dirt used to fill in potholes in the subdivision about two weeks after the original removal.
“Right now, when it’s dry we have serious dust conditions. Our homes and cars and pets are all covered with dust,” Bierschenk said. “When it’s wet like today, we slip and slide between three to four inches of mud, so we’ve got a real serious problem around there.”
The large amount of dust has likewise created environmental concerns for neighbors.
“With heavy rains, all this material has been flowing into the storm drain system in our subdivision. It’s constantly been flowing into our neighborhood lake,” said resident Frank Felker.
In an email after the meeting, Felker said residents were excited but skeptical about the project.
Some residents also expressed concerns with the ability for emergency vehicles to traverse the roads.
“For those with compromised health in our community, this creates anxiety about what happens if there is going to be an emergency,” resident Susanne Broekhuijse said at the meeting. “We’ve even had a police officer who complained to two of my neighbors that his car had bottomed out on our road because of the differences of level going four to six inches.”
Broekhuijse said the roads create an issue for the identity of the community, which has existed for more than a decade but was hampered by the economic downturn.
“We’re not an established neighborhood, we are a new neighborhood. We have new houses. I’ve only lived there since January 2016,” Broekhuijse said. “I love my house. I’m so proud of it, and yet, if I had to ask anyone to come to my neighborhood right now, I’m so nervous. It is shameful.”
Complicating matters is the fact that the original developer, PMC Aaron Sosebee, has reportedly been dissolved and officials do not plan to spend additional, unplanned money on the roads.
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said Century Communities was willing to pay for all the work until seeing the full cost of the project, which Jarrard said would likely be “several hundred thousand dollars to bring the roads up to code.”
“Obviously, these are roads that are unacceptable, and the county gets it,” Jarrard said. “Unfortunately, sometimes given the financing of getting these roads fixed, particularly when it’s a relatively new subdivision where there are other entities on the financial hook for it, that’s something we take seriously as well, as we owe it to the taxpayers. But, I feel like we have probably ridden that as far as we can ride it.”