Oak Hill residents responsible for road; City may take possession once it’s reinforced

Published 10:55 am Friday, January 20, 2017

The Brookhaven Board of Alderman will not consider accepting a road in the Oak Hill subdivision unless the Oak Hill Homeowners Association reinforces it.

Six aldermen voted in favor of this decision during their meeting earlier this week, however, Ward 6 Alderman David Phillips did not take part in the vote because his brother and business partner lives in Oak Hill.

A written decision was hand delivered Wednesday to Kevin Laird, president of the Oak Hill Homeowners Association, and mailed to the rest of the homeowners.

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The letter explained in detail that the aldermen would be breaking the law if they accepted the road according to the detailed Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions created in 1995 by the developers of Oak Hill Subdivision.

“At this point, this is a corporation licensed under the laws of the state of Mississippi,” city attorney Joe Fernald said. “Therefore, they have a corporate governing system they have to follow.

The Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions was created as a private development that governed all the real estate in the subdivision and governed future development of Oak Hill for years to come.

Not all homeowners in Oak Hill were informed of this, which is why the issue has been brought before the aldermen.

The letter also states that the road in the subdivision were not constructed by any governmental agencies and based upon an in-depth investigation by the city, have never been dedicated as public.

Oak Hill homeowners have defended this argument in the past by mentioning the deed that transferred the Oak Hill subdivision to the City of Brookhaven in June 2012. However, former Mayor Les Bumgarner and the Board of Alderman did not accept the deed in Aug. 21, 2012 board meeting, as recorded in the minutes.

The board in 2012, however, did direct Fernald to notify the developers of Oak Hill Estates of the proper steps for dedication. After the letter was sent to lawyer Jim Elliot to request a meeting to discuss the process, no response was given from him or anyone else of the homeowners association.

“They’re assuming that the deed means something,” Fernald said. “Quite honestly, other than it being a deed, it means nothing in the corporate minutes because their corporation requires them to act and speak on their minutes… There’s nothing on their minutes.”

For this reason, Fernald, Mayor Joe Cox and the current Brookhaven Board of Aldermen were shocked by the Facebook comments made earlier last year that re-opened this matter.

A meeting was called last year to discuss the concerns of the Oak Hill subdivision. Mayor Cox explained to the homeowners that a road bore had to be done before anything else happened.

A road bore is a channel, hole or road cut constructed under roads.

“We thought that at the end of the meeting in December they would do [the road bores], Fernald said. “The road may not cost that much, your bed may not be that bad, but they never did that.”

The letter also says that if the homeowners association completes the road bores, sufficient data can be provided about the quality and condition of the roadbed. The city would then determine the cost of construction, repair the road and levy an assessment based upon the cost of the construction to be assessed and paid by the residents of the Oak Hill Estates.

Once the road construction is complete, the city would accept and dedicate the road as a public street. The city has been final on this decision throughout all meetings in 2016.

“We’ve done everything we can to solve this issue,” Cox said.

The Oak Hill Homeowners Association has not met to discuss this issue further. They plan to meet next week.