Heritage Oaks Developer At Odds With City
John Curtis, developer of Heritage Oaks, says he's lost two million dollars making what he calls unnecessary improvements. Curtis thinks the city should repay him in acknowledgment of what he says are their mistakes.
"We've constructed 29 homes in Heritage Oaks," Curtis said.
When John Curtis bought the property in 2003, he was hoping to have closer to 100 properties ready to go.
"I had 42 employees, had to let them all go. I just want to move forward, I'm tired," Curtis said.
Curtis said Alachua city leaders have kept him from finishing with issues like forcing him to increase water flow from fire hydrants even though it was not part of the city's development plan. Engineers reported his improvements would not help unless Alachua made a million dollar's worth of upgrades.
In 2005 city leaders reportedly kept him from building without making major improvements to roads and other issues.
Bruce Giles was one of the first homeowners to move in about five years ago.
"It was a a long and drawn out but we're happy with the builder. We couldn't be more happy with our home," Giles said.
City Manager Clovis Watson declined to meet with WCJB but gave the phone to attorney Robert Rush, who is representing the city.
"We are holding the developer to commitments he made when the project was approved," Rush said.
Curtis vigorously disagrees he made those commitments.
"I've asked for answers, I've asked for them to respond to me and have gotten no response on this," Curtis said.
Robert Rush added that nothing related to fire flow has kept the project from moving forward.
"It's hard to figure out where to lay blame. You have the City Manager telling us one thing, you have our builder telling us another thing. Right now though you have the builder who is able to provide documentation," Giles also said.
Curtis said building at Heritage Oaks is held up because he won't pay for wastewater impact charges because he has documentation that says he shouldn't have to. He plans to go to the city commission meeting Monday.
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