Millville council approves resolutions on Millville By the Sea

The Millville Town Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 9, approved five resolutions that released performance bonds and transferred bonded improvements to the village home owner associations within Millville by the Sea.

The five resolutions were for Sand Dollar Village I, Sand Dollar Village II, Summerwind Boulevard, Summerwind Village Model Homes, Sea Scape Court and Lakeside Village. The resolutions indicate the council feels the developer, Millville By the Sea LLC, has met the requirements of the bonds in terms of the construction of those projects.

Following the release of the performance bonds and transfer of bonded improvements, the developer is required to place warranty bonds for each of the projects addressed at the meeting, which amount to 10 percent of the initial performance bonds. The warrants bonds are in effect for one year, at which time the Town will conduct a “walk-through” on each village to check on any damages.

Each of the measures was approved 3-0, with council members Susan Brienza and Steve Maneri abstaining since they live in Millville By the Sea.

The council also approved the transfer of improvements, such as streets, from Millville Town Center LLC, the developer, to the Millville by the Sea Property Owners Association for Sand Dollar Village I and Sand Dollar Village II, the transfer of Summerwind Boulevard to the Millville by the Sea Master Association, and from the developer to the Lakeside Village Home Owners Association.

Several dozen homeowners were present at the meeting, many of whom disputed the assertion by the developer and the town engineer, Andrew Lyons Jr. of George, Miles & Buhr, that required construction elements had been completed in proper fashion.

Complaints ranged from cracking and breaking of streets, sidewalks and driveways to flooding issues and trees that had been planted in areas where they were not meant to thrive. However, Town officials told the residents that flooding was not part of the resolution before them on that night.

Lyons addressed the concerns, many of which he said were the result of “normal wear and tear,” particularly regarding streets and driveways, due to the time of year. Town Manager Deborah Botchie said a state arborist will tour the development in June to assess damage to trees and determine whether the trees are surviving, or dead and will need to be replaced, according to the species’ optimal growth needs.

Frawn Morgan, managing partner of California-based LDC Advisors, the current developer of Millville By the Sea, was at the meeting representing her company, as was project manager Al Ruble.

Some residents expressed frustration and confusion over who is responsible for what in the community, with recent changes in the developer and with a complicated management setup.

“The developers hire the builder. So where is the commitment on their part? I’m very concerned about that. I feel like we’re kind of out on a limb without any real support,” said Millville By the Sea resident Peg Ehrhardt.

Botchie said the Town’s oversight of the large community has been a learning experience.

“Hopefully, going forward, we’re going to be much wiser,” she said.

By Kerin Magill
Staff Reporter