By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Back in April, I wrote a blog about Golden Hills subdivision in Virginia. Golden Hills was developed in the 1990s with the intent to turn over maintenance of roads to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
But today the County Commission insists the roads in Golden Hills are private, not public, even though Golden Hills was developed without a mandatory homeowners’ association to fund and maintain those roads.
That’s right: Golden Hills is not subject to a homeowners association (HOA) – never has been, and it was never intended. Homeowners were told at the time they purchased that there is no HOA, and that the roads were to be VDOT maintained. In fact, surrounding residential development is also served by state maintained roads.
Documentation obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request states that roads in Golden Hills were to be completed by the builder, with Greene County holding a bond until the finished roads could be approved. Once approved, VDOT would take over maintenance of the roads.
But somehow, folks in Green County Commission at the time released the builder’s bond too early. So when the developer died, leaving the roads unfinished, there wasn’t enough money left to complete the work.
Although they did some work on the roads in 2005, Green County has failed to complete the roads up to VDOT code. In addition, the County won’t remove snow or repair potholes. After a decade without adequate maintenance, the roads are in bad shape.
Same taxes, lower level of services
The roads are filled with crater sized potholes and areas of poor drainage that collect water and cause further erosion and destruction of the road’s surface.
Golden Hills homeowners pay taxes just the same as everyone else in Greene County. The homeowners believe they are entitled to the same level of services.
Owners of Association Governed Housing will relate to this story, because they are doubly taxed – once the by the local government in the form of property taxes and again by their HOA in the form of assessments. HOA residents pay the same rate of property tax as their non-HOA neighbors, but they received a lower level of services.
In Greene County, however, it appears that even non-HOA Golden Hill homeowners are also being denied County services they have paid for.
Homeowner David Underwood has produced the following documentary explaining the dispute and the frustrations of homeowners dealing with their forgotten roads. Here you can see the deplorable condition of Wood and Haney Roads. Share this video with your contacts in Virginia, in order to educate voters about how their elected officials are failing to represent their interests.
1 thought on “Greene County Commission still refuses to fix roads in Golden Hills”
The county has known this problem has existed for many years, and for fear of litigation has chosen not to take ownership of those actions post 2005. Of course, the county is not in the business of fixing private roads, but these roads are not private…they are still deeded to Greene County and the residents cannot help themselves if they don’t own the roads.
The residents are not asking for a local government bailout, just for workable solutions partnered with the county. Even the supervisors offered to provide solutions, but to date have not been willing to that on the record. So far, no elected official has come forward to offer assistance without being hounded. Recent conversations between the residents and elected representatives have occurred, but only through public pleas and shaming. The title of this video speaks for itself. Perhaps it should have been called Veritatem Defendere.
There are legal options that the county can take on behalf of these residents, but their unwillingness is due to competing priorities. This past spring, the president of a local and privately operated youth sports league came before this same group of elected reps to ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars for lighting for his baseball fields. Although not currently in the budget and NOT a function of local government, the board members and County Administrator commented that the idea was a good one and worthy of consideration next year. We shall see how that request goes compared to this neighborhood asking their County government to fix a problem that it caused many years ago. Additionally, the supervisors are struggling with how to message the cost of a much needed but very expensive municipal water project soon to hit everyone.
It’s nice to see that at least someone is willing to help drive attention to their suffering. I doubt that we would know about the degree of their suffering if someone was not willing to advocate and take some hits for them. Hopefully this will begin to turn the lopsidedness from the county’s powerful position into the hands of these everyday-working people.
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