North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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April 4, 2014

Pinson accepts land in exchange for finishing paving in Aspen Ridge subdivision

PINSON — A longstanding dispute between the developer of a Pinson subdivision and the city has been resolved with a land deal.

The Pinson City Council voted in Thursday night’s regular session to accept a settlement from Salisbury Development Company, Grayson Land Company and James M. Grayson Jr., in which Grayson and his companies would give the city a tract of land in exchange for the city completing the paving of streets within the Aspen Ridge subdivision.

The agreement settles a longstanding problem that Pinson has had with Grayson’s companies, and it’s similar to one that’s affected numerous suburban communities in Jefferson and surrounding counties. In most developer begins a subdivision, and puts up a performance bond to cover street construction if the project runs into problems. That worked well when the real estate market was at its peak, but when the market went downhill late in the last decade, developers simply walked away and left streets that were unfinished, with performance bonds that would not cover the cost to make things right.

“Before 2008 when development was hopping, developers finished their roads and sold out the lots, then moved on to the next project,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said.

Aspen Ridge is the last of several such situations for Pinson to deal with.

The city and Jefferson County will now officially take possession of the streets — something which was never completed earlier — and Pinson will finish the work on those streets within Sector Two, which lies wholly within the city limits. The fifth sector of Aspen Ridge is in the county and completely bonded through them, and not subject to this settlement, Sanders said.

“We can deal with Sector Two immediately, then we will go back to Sectors Three, Four and Five to get the required signatures for a referendum, to being them into the city,” Sanders said.

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