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County settles Sembler suit
Conflict centered on Market Place extension
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County has settled a lawsuit with Sembler Atlanta Inc. involving part of the extension of Market Place Boulevard.

The company worked with the county in 2006 to realign the original route to maximize the use of Cumming Town Center’s land and access during its development.

A dispute over payment for construction and other costs sparked the lawsuit last year.

Commissioners voted 5-0 on Thursday to approve a settlement that will divide the money Sembler requested between the two parties.

“This marks the end of litigation between Forsyth County and Sembler arriving at the Market Place Boulevard construction project,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.

Based on its interpretation of the original contract, Sembler demanded the county pay $558,000.

The county, believing Sembler “had done some things we don’t agree with,” deposited the sum into the court registry so it would not breach the contract, Jarrard said.

As a result of the settlement, the county will pay $175,000 to Sembler, with the reminaing $383,000 returning to the county.

“The parties with their respective positions decided this is the way the money should be apportioned,” Jarrard said.

The lawsuit was filed in Fulton County Superior Court in March 2009. Sembler then filed a counterclaim.

An original contract in 2006 set out terms for payment regarding the road construction.

Forsyth County had proposed an alignment that Sembler felt would lower its value and use of the shopping center property.

Sembler then submitted its own route, and the two reached a contract in 2006 stating that Sembler would pay the county the difference of building that alignment minus the right of way and easement costs.

The matter was complicated in 2007 when the county was fined by the state Environmental Protection Divsion for not following stream buffer requirements.

The county paid a negotiated sum of $150,000, which Sembler reimbursed in full so it could open the shopping center on time.

A new alignment was then plotted to remove the road from those buffers.

Forsyth County and Sembler disagreed on whether the original contract obligated the county to pay the right-of-way costs necessary to negotiate the final path.

The county contended that the original contract only bound it to pay costs associated with the original road plan.

The settlement, however, will end any further claims and authorize the court to release the money as written in the agreement.