Lee County holds developers accountable for work - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee County holds developers accountable for work

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Some developers say Lee County's construction requirements are too stringent.

County leaders say they won't tolerate building deficiencies. They want to make sure work is done right from the get-go so taxpayers aren't forced to pay for repairs. They are closely scrutinizing new development.

There are 34 lots being developed here at McIntosh Farms just off Oakland Parkway, when questions came up about sewer lines here, the county asked for repairs and for the developer to put down a bigger deposit to ensure the work is done. The developer however plans to fight the county.

In Lee County they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it's pictures from this sewer camera purchased two years ago that are keeping developers honest.

"You can tell if there's a defect, the pipes clean, it hasn't been used," said Chris Boswell, Lee Co. Utility Authority General Manager.

It's the last safe guard after a certified state engineer signs off on plans and the work is done. Recently the camera found several minor sags in sewer lines installed for McIntosh Farms in southern Lee County.

"There's no reason why things can't be made right if there's a defect found, and that's what we did," said Boswell.

The county asked the developer George McIntosh not to dig up many of the lines, but put down a larger maintenance bond at $75,000 and agree to extend the guarantee period on the lines from two to five years. McIntosh's own engineer agreed to reconstruct a larger section of pipe at the end of Belmont Drive.

"We treated Mr. McIntosh just like we would any other developer," said Boswell.

The same goes for road work developers put in, county officials say it's their job to make sure roads turned over to the county are in good shape.

"When they're finished by a developer they're turned over to the county to maintain them forever, there's a big expense if these roads are not done to normal standards," said Bob Alexander Lee County Planning & Development Director.

In the past some subdivisions roadwork wasn't up to standard. When we called George McIntosh, he wouldn't talk with us on camera saying he wanted to first get his facts together and do his homework to prove the county wrong. County officials believe their process works, to ensure county taxpayers aren't left holding the bill for work that may need repairs in the future.

Lee County officials say once those lines are deeded over to the county it's too late. They say if the repairs aren't made, they'll revoke the sewer system permits. The letter also requires the sewer lines be flushed at least once a quarter for the first year, and that the sewer authority be notified so they can be there.

This is just the first phase of development on the 600 acres of property off Oakland Parkway. George McIntosh has built, sold or developed as many as 3-thousand properties in Lee County.

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