Cattail Creek - The News Herald 04/07/04 #2

Families fighting association

By Valerie Hickey, The News-Herald

PUBLISHED: April 7, 2004

BROWN STOWN TWP - Residents of Cattail Creek subdivision appealed to the township board Monday in hopes of resolving a conflict regarding the creation of a neighborhood homeowners association.

"First, let me state that 36 households have joined together to retain legal counsel in an effort to resolve this situation and protect our rights," resident Tony Severyn told board members. "There are 13 additional households who share our views but are unable to join the lawsuit for a variety of reasons."


Wade and Carolyn Gatov and their son, Bradley, 6, are part of a group of Cattail Creek residents who are upset about pressure by the subdivision developer and township officials to form a homeowners association.

The residents argue that Resco, the developer of the still unfinished subdivision north of Huron River Drive and west of West Jefferson -- and possibly some of the real estate agents who sold them their homes -- fraudulently told them there would be no homeowners association in Cattail Creek.

"We received a letter from the developer to the township back in January of 2002 stating that there would be no formal homeowners association formed in Cattail Creek," Severyn said. "We agreed to this then."

Currently, Cattail Creek residents pay a special assessment fee to the township for open space and retention basin maintenance and lighting. Many say they are content to keep it that way.

"In 2003, work began on Cattail Creek Park that encompasses the county-owned Morrison Drain," Severyn said. "This was a surprise to most because very few knew our subdivision extended that far east."

Severyn said the original plan called only for a bridge, but that the developer installed a gazebo, fitness equipment and an irrigation system.

"We have recently learned that we, the residents, are responsible for that park area," Severyn said. "No one knew they were personally responsible for the Morrison Drain floodplain now called Cattail Creek Park.

"Toward that end, we are seeking to minimize our liability and responsibility for that area."

Group members are asking the township to enforce the original approved site plan and remove all of the installed amenities that, according to them, were built prior to Planning Commission approval.

Residents say the park area is frequently flooded and unusable anyway.

Several of them told township officials that they would rather see the area returned to its natural state.

"Let it grow; let it flood," resident Ed Schwenk told board members.

Township officials said they are attempting to resolve the issue and have met with the attorney retained by the residents.