Lawsuit: HabiJax, City shift blame for problems at Fairway Oaks

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Two years after Fairway Oaks HOA filed a lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville and HabiJax, there’s still no relief in sight for homeowners. In yet another move to dismiss the lawsuit, the City blames several other parties for current conditions at the affordable housing complex.

Those other parties include the former landowners of the site, the homeowners association, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among many others.

The City also claims Sovereign Immunity, and alleges that individual homeowners and their HOA failed to take action to prevent further damage to their homes.

The History of Fairway Oaks

According to attorneys representing the homeowners, Fairway Oaks was built on top of a former landfill (The Castellano Landfill), and adjacent to Montcrief Creek. Experts working for the homeowners have concluded that the soil on the site serves as a poor foundation for the community’s homes.

Ten thousand volunteers gathered in the year 2000 to build Fairway Oaks’ 85 homes with the Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville — known as HabiJax.  Qualified homeowners obtained small mortgages on their properties.

Within a few years after construction, homeowners noticed large cracks in their slab foundations, and uneven settling of their homes. The HOA alleges that contaminants began to seep up from the ground through foundation cracks, leading to problems with noxious odors, insect infestations, and mold.

The HOA reported various problems to both the City and HabiJax, but no action was taken to address their concerns, leading to the current lawsuit.

Residents insist that their homes are unsafe and uninhabitable. They want the City and HabiJax to compensate them for the lost value of their homes, so they can relocate.

The HOA plans to protest outside of the courthouse prior to each hearing on the case.

Fairway Oaks residents protest condition, location of homes

Lawsuit has been filed against city of Jacksonville, HabiJax

By Ashley Harding – Reporter, Roxy Tyler – Web producer
Posted: 12:36 PM, November 30, 2018
Updated: 12:38 PM, November 30, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People living in the Fairway Oaks community of northwest Jacksonville took their protest to the front of the Duval County Courthouse Friday afternoon. Over the past two years, the News4Jax I-Team has been digging into reports that show in 2000, HabiJax built 85 homes near an old landfill. People living there say they have potentially contaminated soil and poor construction that left their homes falling apart.

Neighbors said the protest is coming just ahead of a court hearing connected to a lawsuit they’ve filed against the city and HabiJax.

Last year, homeowners in Fairway Oaks sued the city of Jacksonville and HabiJax. Borden said they received the following response to the lawsuit.

Read response here.

It says in part, the plantiffs’ damages “..must be reduced by the allocation of fault to non-parties whose actions or inactions caused or contributed to plaintiff’s and class members’ Damages…”

“..over whom the City had no responsibility or control.”

It goes on to say those parties include:

The former landowners where Fairway Oaks was built.
Its homeowners association.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Housing and Urban Development Department, among many others.
Borden said it’s a blame shift.

“I took it as if, now they want to shift blame from them, now that we’re actually getting somewhere in the lawsuit with our attorney, Jack Krumbein,” Borden said.
Read more (video):
www.news4jax.com/news/investigations/residents-of-fairway-oaks-protest-over-condition-location-of-homes

 

Related: Fairway Oaks, Jacksonville homeowners protest environmental contamination