By Crystal McGough
CLAY — Several citizens attended the Clay City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, to speak to the council during public comments regarding the new St. James subdivision behind Clayton Cove.
Lynn Hillman listed three concerns: first, that approximately 25 houses that were supposed to be all brick have been built with only one side brick, and three sides siding; second, that investors are purchasing the homes with the intention to rent; and third, citizens are concerned that the houses might be approved for Section 8 housing.
“I am greatly concerned,” Hillman said.
Webster said that the situation was currently in litigation, and City Attorney Alan Summers said that he had not heard any mention of Section 8 housing. Additionally, the mayor and council informed the public that federal housing law protects a property owner’s right to rent their property.
As for the specifications of the housing construction, Dixon said that there was an agreement between the attorneys that “the pads that were already poured without a brick ledge, the agreement is that they could continue as they were drawn and submitted. The remainder will be four-sided brick with the larger pads that will have the brick ledge. That’s my understanding.”
Dixon explained that there were three parties involved: the developer, Allen Jones; the initial builder, Southern Energy; and a new builder, Prominence Homes.
“When the developer brought the builder that was going to build the houses, they showed plans to the Planning & Zoning Commission and to the council,” Dixon said. “Between that builder that was introduced to the council and the first building permit that was granted, the builder changed. … So when it got to the point of lawsuits, the current building permit holder, that builder, their stance is that the developer never told them that there had to be four-sided brick.”
Councilor Bo Johnson said that he is not at ease with the agreement made between the attorneys.
“I don’t really care if the builder thinks he’s been done wrong,” Johnson said. “We approved four-sided brick, Planning & Zoning recommended, we approved it, and I don’t think we should stop with a negotiation (that) you just need to build the rest of them (according to specifications). We need to continue and pursue this, and I don’t know what that looks like or what we can do, but that bothers me very much … It bothers me for my integrity because we said this is what it’s going to be. We need to continue to fight this fight. We don’t need to push this to the side. We need to do everything that we can do to make sure that all sides of those houses get bricked.”
Johnson’s comments were met with enthusiastic applause from those in attendance.