by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday declared Hannaford Farm LLC in default on its obligations for public improvements within the Hannaford Farm development.
The improvements that were the developer’s responsibility include the final grading of streets and completion of sidewalks, among others, and will cost $2.2 million to complete.
The board granted authority to the village clerk to contact Benchmark Bank, the developerâ€™s insurer, demanding that the money be released. Once Benchmark Bank receives the letter, it has seven days to respond, Village President Sean Michels said. However, bank representatives have told village officials it would likely fight the action in court.
â€œUnfortunately, it’s just a sign of the times,â€ Michels said.
He said the Hannaford Farm developers took out a $2 million loan in 2004 to develop the subdivision, for which they are paying $100,000 a year in interest. Without the sale of homes due to the failing economy, Michels said they have no income with which to pay the interest, property taxes or to maintain the property.
The development was originally proposed for 142 single-family homes on 122 acres of land off of Merrill Road, west of the Lakes of Bliss Woods subdivision. As of the end of last year, there were 24 lots owned by individual owners.
Michels said the village had hoped to avoid going to court.
â€œThe only people who get rich are the attorneys and no work gets done,â€ he said.
A group of Hannaford homeowners got together last weekend to mow, weed and plant flowers in some of the common areas.
â€œMy compliments to the Hannaford Farm residents for getting some things done over the weekend,â€ Michels said.
â€œWe’re just saddened by it all,â€ Hannaford Farm resident Rachel Rockwell said.