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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Suit ends; developer seeks lot variance

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A lawsuit filed by a Cape Gir-ardeau developer aimed at the city and Mayor Jay Knudtson has ended.

David Damick, a St. Louis lawyer who represented Rodney Arnold's suit against the city and Knudtson said the case was dismissed July 23.

"That's pretty much all I'm at liberty to tell you. ... I believe all feelings are OK on all sides," he said.

Arnold filed suit in November over statements made to the Southeast Missourian by Knudtson in an Oct. 25 story about the 140-lot Whispering Oaks subdivision, off of County Road 620.

Knudtson's comments came after Whispering Oaks homeowners expressed their displeasure on learning Arnold was building duplexes in what they thought would be a neighborhood of single-family homes. Knudtson was quoted as saying he was disappointed about the change, "whether it is through deception or miscommunication," and that "This many people can't all be wrong" about homeowners' claims that Arnold had promised to build only single-family homes.

Arnold, contacted by phone for this story, referred all questions about Whispering Oaks to attorney Nancy Brown, who did not respond to messages left at her office before press time.

Knudtson characterized the suit as "simply a misunderstanding from the beginning.

"It's in the best interest for all involved to move forward," he said.

That suit has no connection to a request for a variance in Arnold's Whispering Oaks subdivision, set for a board of adjustment review at 7 p.m. Thursday, sources on both sides of the lawsuit said.

According to city inspector Tim Morgan, Arnold is asking the board to alter setback allowances on nine lots in the The Meadows of Whispering Oaks development.

Morgan said the lots, part of a cul-de-sac, have unusual shapes and sizes. According to plans submitted to the board, the properties range from a quarter acre to more than 1.5 acres.

Existing homes along the cul-de-sac, built before the neighborhood was annexed by the city, exceed the city's setback of 30 feet by about five feet, Morgan said, and would be two feet closer to property lines on the side yards, partly because of topography.

"The lots fall downward very quickly, so he built closer to the road than normally would be allowed," he said.

The variance request would make homes on the nine remaining lots conform to existing setbacks, Morgan said.

The city council does not have jurisdiction over the variance request process, Knudtson said.

As far as the new neighborhood goes, he said, it is "a very good development for Cape Gir-ardeau."

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127


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It is interesting to look back on this story 3-4 years later...

In 2006, the developer requested that the city not annex the soccer field, tennis court and pool area into city limits in this subdivision.

On November 14th, 2006, the developer sued the city and the mayor regarding statements the mayor made about him in regards to the subdivision.

On November 21st, 2006, the city had questions about the mysterious soccer field area, but went through with the annexation anyway. The soccer field area was carved out of the subdivision annexation.

In April 2007, the county divided the soccer field area into small county lots at the request of the developer.

After the land division was approved, the developer offered homeowners, in writing, a $2,500 transferrable platinum membership to the cove, pool, soccer field and tennis courts knowing that he had recently divided the area into small county lots.

The developer, (along with his wife and his mother, who were licenced realtors bound by Missouri Realtor Law) also advertised these platinum memberships to anyone who purchased a lot in the subdivision.

Homeowners still have the documents that prove these platinum membership offers and the dated documents signed by the developer verifying the area was divided by the county.

Subsequent developers who later bought the Cove area also offered rights to the subdivision facilities while fully aware they were plotted for county development. The bank that currently owns the Cove area also knows the soccer field, tennis court and pool area are divided for county lot development and is also advertising access to the pool, tennis court, etc. Yet the bank is fully aware these amenities are divided up as small lots in the county.

The original developer that sued the city and mayor did in fact file and receive lot permits via the county. He then, in fact, did offer a transferrable platinum memberships to the facilities he planned to eliminate.

Forward to 2010 and now the developers father is placing duplexes across the street from the pool and Cove. The Cove/pool area is now for sale by a local bank and is still divided into county lots in the middle of the city annexed subdivision. The city and subdivision residents have asked the bank if they would allow the city to annex the area into the city limits and abide by subdivision covenants. So far, the bank has not done so. The bank appears to be holding out for an offer on the "county land".

The lawsuit between the mayor and the city was of course dismissed and settled out of court. I sure wonder what really took place here? I guess further digging is necessary to discover the real truth to these ongoing subdivision concerns.

-- Posted by mytake1 on Mon, Oct 18, 2010, at 12:59 PM


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