By Terry Schrimscher
SPRINGVILLE — A group of concerned home buyers from the Archer’s Cove development in Springville addressed Springville Mayor Dave Thomas and members of the City Council on Monday night, February 1, after the regular council meeting.
The group, including real estate agents involved in the purchase of the homes, was seeking certificates of occupancy from the city needed to close on their purchases before moving into the development. The Mayor and Council, along with City Attorney Charlie Waldrep, met in executive session at the end of the regular city council meeting to discuss the issue, among other concerns, prior to meeting with the buyers and their representatives after the council meeting.
“We don’t understand. We’ve been trying to close on our house since mid-November,” said Barbra Ash, one of the buyers waiting on the paperwork to move into the neighborhood. “I just ask you to think about the families that are being impacted here. We have changed our move four times.”
She and her husband, Ben, sold their home in another city to an investor with plans to retire in Springville. They are currently renting their home back from their purchaser until they are able to move.
“We have a family here that is going to be homeless at the end of April,” Ash added. “Just release the certificates and let us move into our homes.”
“There’s no inventory,” said Lea Corley of EXP Realty.
Corley spoke representing her client, a Springville resident who purchased a new home in Archer’s Cove.
“I can’t find answers as to why this is stopped,” Corley continued. “I need to tell her what to do. She’s going to be homeless. She’s got two kids in school. Can we get an answer?”
Corley said she has been unable to get clarification from Odenville on the issue. Several of the families in attendance stated they were told the sewer connection was completed and approved.
“The city finds itself in a difficult situation. The sewer has not been completed,” said Mayor Thomas. “We’re trying to find a solution. There is a pathway forward that all parties could be satisfied but we are not currently on it.”
Thomas said phase one of the sewer plan has been completed but the connection from the Springville system to the Odenville sewer is not complete.
“The conversation was ‘I will grant these COs (Certificates of Occupancy) on an interim basis, but we are renegotiating the development,” said attorney Lynne O’Neal. “we didn’t ignore you, we didn’t want to renegotiate the PUD (Planned Unit Development) the council had passed.”
O’Neal represents the developer, D. R. Horton.
In an exclusive conversation with the Trussville Tribune, Mayor Thomas said he is sympathetic toward the buyers and feels they are caught in the middle of the issue. He reiterated that he feels there is a path forward for them.
“I am not opposed to a short-term solution to get them in their homes,” Thomas said. “But, it’s not going to be another gentleman’s agreement. It will be in writing. It’s a very emotional issue for the families,” he said, “but we have to govern with our heads and we have to represent the rest of Springville.”
The meeting ended with tensions high. Several council members expressed their concerns for the families and said they are willing to make changes to get them into their homes.
The City Council will hold another executive session tonight, February 3, at 6 p.m. Members of the council and spokesmen for the families involved have all expressed hope to find a solution.