WRAL Investigates

Road maintenance at issue in Wake subdivision

Posted February 17, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— It was Guy Darr's dream home – a two-car garage, covered porch and a finished second floor – in the Meadow Glen subdivision outside Wendell.

"We looked at it and said, 'This is going to be our one and only house,’" Darr said.

Four years later, though, he's encountered a problem that has nothing to do with the house. It’s cracking and crumbling of the roads throughout the development.

Darr says he is frustrated more isn't being done to fix them.

Cracked pavement Homeowners frustrated by crumbling streets

"I thought the roads automatically belong to the state or the county," Darr said.

The Department of Transportation does maintain roads in neighborhoods, like Meadow Glen, but Reid Elmore, a DOT district engineer, says developers are responsible for maintaining roads until they meet certain DOT standards. Once they do, the state takes over.

"For whatever reason, the developer has not addressed the items we pointed out, and until such time, my hands are tied, as far as acceptance of this subdivision," Elmore said.

Elmore says the roads in Meadow Glen need extensive work that Wake County officials estimate would cost more than $100,000.

Since 1999, the subdivision's road issues have grown from eight to 17 and range from repaving to drainage issues.

Developers AdamsMark Properties and RHC Construction and Realty say that when they bought the land for the development, DOT informed them of two issues that needed to be fixed.

"We completed those items and requested the road be taken over, but were told that 75 percent of homes had to be occupied," developers Robert Cameron and Todd Adams said in written statement to WRAL News.

Adams and Cameron said that each time they addressed issues, more arose, including ones that cannot be fixed.

They say they have maintained the roads, as agreed upon, and that DOT "has no interest in taking over secondary roads and does everything they can to prevent taking them."

"Because of this, we have been sitting in limbo with great financial hardship for five years," they said in their statement.

Elmore says the DOT has no record of any response from AdamsMark or RHC. Either way, the department has a warning for potential homebuyers.

"I won't say this happens every day, but there are other subdivisions that are in the same position this one is in," Elmore said, "and the homeowners are pretty much left holding the bag on this."

Developers do have an incentive in Wake County to maintain roads within a subdivision. If DOT standards are not met, the county is supposed to withhold building permits for 25 percent of the lots.

"This is, in effect, an example of a safeguard," said Steven Finn, land development administrator with the Wake County Planning Department.

In Meadow Glen, six lots remain undeveloped, but residents believe the cost to the developers to fix the issues to meet DOT standards is more than they would make by building on empty lots.

The developers, instead, built on lots in different subdivisions in Raleigh, Zebulon and other areas in Wake County.

At this point, Finn says, there's nothing the county or the state can do to require the developers to get the Meadow Glen roads up to DOT standards.

"It kind of blows my mind," said James Gibson with the Meadow Glen Homeowners Association. "I'm not picking on the county, but you're issuing permits to (the developers) in another subdivision, but you put him on hold in this one?"

Finn says the safeguards, to some extent, worked in the case of Meadow Glen but admits there is room for improvement.

In 2006, Wake County updated its policy for new subdivisions to require that the developer put up a letter of credit for anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000.

None of that seems to be helping Meadow Glen residents, though, and they say they fear the issue might eventually lead to court.

"In the meantime, we're stuck with (these roads)," Gibson said. "Six more years – it may be gravel road."

8 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • superman Feb 18, 2009

    Wow-- our road was built over 35 years ago and it has not been resurfaced. Our subdivision is very small only two short streets and about 20 houses. Couple years ago they spent almost 3 days just fixing the potholes and the asphalt upheavels. We even submitted a petition to get our road resurfaced. The maintaince guy came out and agreeded that our road was in extremely poor condition. However, he said that they were a lot of streets in the same condition and that there was just not enough money to resurface all the streets in the county. We we just dodge the potholes. I think it is the big heavy garbage trucks that destroy the road in our neighborhood.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Feb 17, 2009

    You dream chasers need to be greasing the wheels in your favor. That's what the developers do.

  • Qwerty27807 Feb 17, 2009

    Why are ANY building permits being issued if the developer has not met the required infrastructure requirements?

    Would they get a permit to build houses if they just slapped up a couple of outhouses and ran an extension cord from the pole at the street? No... They have to meet certain codes for water, sanitation, and electrical service to build... Why not make the quality of roads in the subdivision just another requirement to meet?

    Amazing that code enforcement can tell me my boat is 1 foot too long for the driveway, but can't seem to figure out this kind of stuff.

  • alwayslovingu30 Feb 17, 2009

    dot had our road paved about 3 years ago it has been patched twice in the same spots it just keeps coming back.the asphalt on the bridge is cracking up outside the bridge is coming up literally the top of the hill has big issues.3 years an all these problems R here to stay they will patch it an it will come back the road in the majority of areas is only A inch thick
    .they cut the hill on the side of the road down to move the road over A bid grass or nothing has ever grown back.Check out Eatmon road in johnston county
    p.s. 39 hwy cross 97 wake county

  • hollylama Feb 17, 2009

    Oh please...drive through my neighborhood off 401 and you'll see crumbling roads. They are so bad cars have to goo 5-10 miles an hour to avoid screwing up their cars.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 17, 2009

    Wrong Steve, what it is is Blackmail foisted by the Government. But I am not surprised.

  • james27613 Feb 17, 2009

    Common problem, the developers have their money and don't want to part with it. Let the county or city pay for it.

    my development, harrington grove in Raleigh was annexed about five years ago (city did it to us), roads were not up to standards, DOT did the work but the contractor stopped after paving half the streets.

    at the curb, they did not taper the asphalt so every street
    is now a trip hazzard when you walk to get your mail or
    walk into the streets. over 3/4" rise at the curb to the
    pavement.

  • pbjbeach Feb 17, 2009

    THIS NEIGHBHOOD WON'T BE ANY BETTER OFF IF THE NCDOT WERE TO TAKE IT OVER WITH REGARDS TO THE PAVEMENT BREAKING UP FOR THAT IS WHAT IS WRONG NOW A DAYS WITH THE NCDOT ROADS BEING BUILT AN THAT IS THAT THEY THE NCDOT ARE ALLOWING CONTRACTORS TO INTINALLY USED ASPHALT MIXTURES ON ROADWAY PROJECT THAT ARE INTINIALLY DESIGNED TO FAIL /CRUMBLE UP WITHIN 3- 7 YEARS DURATIONS