MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- Dozens of Winget Pond neighbors wanting their roads fixed say they don't know who owns them, and the developer, the state, and the city aren’t claiming ownership and taking responsibility for maintenance.
There are only four streets in Winget Pond, which is in southwestern Mecklenburg County. Neighbors say the streets have been cracked years, but potholes started forming about seven months ago, and that's what prompted their HOA management company to pursue repairs from the developer, Mulvaney.
A Mulvaney representative's response in a series of emails between neighbors and the HOA management company says they did what they were supposed to do, and handed over paperwork years ago for the state to take over street ownership and maintenance.
But, the NCDOT says they don't have that paperwork, and the roads in Winget Pond are not theirs.
The roads do not belong to the city of Charlotte either, city officials said. That could happen if Winget Pond was annexed into Charlotte, but residents voted against that years ago.
Neighbors say during a recent meeting, a Mulvaney rep told them it appears the state's copies were lost in a fire. In those same emails, the Mulvaney rep said their copies were purged years ago.
The NCDOT's response: what fire?
"We did not have a fire causing the file to be lost. I'm not sure where that came from," said an email from Brett Canipe, NCDOT District Engineer for Mecklenburg County.
"You feel like you’re stuck," said Winget Pond HOA President David White.
White says if nobody takes responsibility, homeowners could be stuck splitting a repair cost, estimated at around $100,000 dollars, or watch their roads get worse over time. That could equal about $1,500 per homeowner.
"We've got people in our neighborhood that are still looking for work, scraping by to pay their dues, scraping by to pay their mortgage. It's not like I can go house to house and find me $1,500 to fix the road," White said.
Developers handing over roads to the city or state is common once a neighborhood is built out-- as long as the roads are in good shape.
"The community is not alone, in that a developer did not see that the roads were accepted by either a municipality or the state before stepping aside to allow residents/HOAs to further the effort. This scenario has played out before in other locations and left residents in a precarious situation where the City can't accept the road since involuntary annexation policies changed, and the State cannot accept a road in poor condition or otherwise not built to a certain minimum standard," Canipe said in the email.
We contacted the Mulvaney rep, but as of this writing have not heard back.
Thursday, the NCDOT says it plans to ask Mulvaney to resubmit the paperwork for Winget Pond.