CHESTNUT HILLS — Homeowners battling with the developer of a subdivision here will have to wait another week before some type of resolution is made by the Madison County Board of Supervisors in an ongoing dispute over the minimum square footage of homes on nine undeveloped lots.

Lawyers representing the county, the developer and nearby homeowners argued for nearly an hour last week over whether or not the board should approve a preliminary plat for Chestnut Hills Part 1E, Phase II, which has already been approved by the county twice.

At question is the lowering of minimum square footage from 3,500 square feet to 2,500 square feet for nine lots. Homeowners have said the covenants, which stated 3,500 square foot minimums, were amended at the eleventh hour without approval from the HOA.

Gene Berry, a Madison attorney representing several homeowners, pointed to several different minutes of the Board of Supervisors that stated that any changes to the plat or accompanying covenants would require approval from the board until there was a majority presence of homeowners on the HOA board.

He said that was put in there to protect homeowners and their investments in the property and that the developer was pulling a “bait and switch” after 10 years.

Andy Clark, the attorney for developer David Landrum, said the board has no control over covenants. Board Attorney Katie Bryant Snell and Planning & Zoning Attorney Leah Ledford both agreed.

However, Berry said that provision was put in board minutes and thus go hand-in-hand with plat approval.

P&Z Director Carl Allen said there have been no changes to the approved plat and that’s what was before the board.



“Whether he is legally entitled to change his covenants — that in my opinion is gonna be between the homeowners who are opposed to it and the developer,” he said. “We cannot be involved in a square footage argument.”



Berry and homeowners have also claimed that the master development plan, which the county approved, called for only 100 lots, and these lots are in addition to that.



“Based on our investigation of this it looks to be there was no concrete change of the approved plat,” Allen said. “They had approval to get 100 lots total.



“They’re entitled to do that,” Berry contended. “They have to come before the board to get more than 100 lots and they never did that.”



As the meeting continued, more information and evidence was presented, which caused everyone to agree there was confusion surrounding the development.



Rita Black, one resident who also purchased additional lots, said she bought one lot and upon closing found it had been sub-divided by the developer without her knowledge.



She said other lots have been sub-divided that were never approved by the county.



District 4 Supervisor David Bishop said if the developer sub-divided lots than common knowledge would mean an increase in the number of lots in the development.



Supervisors ultimately pointed to Snell and Ledford for advice on how to move forward.



“The county is gonna end up in litigation it sounds like,” Ledford said.



They eventually asked for another two weeks, despite Clark calling for a vote on the subject.



“Nothing’s gonna change between now and January and February or March,” he said.



“We’ve been given a lot of information,” Snell told the board. “There’s a lot of back and forth. I would feel more comfortable with a chance to look at this. Quite frankly, I really want to talk to Carl and figure out exactly what’s going on.”



Supervisors then unanimously voted to table the matter until December.