Lexington might require developers to post signs on private streets so the public and potential home buyers will know that the city doesn’t maintain that street.
The Urban County Council Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee voted Tuesday to pass a text amendment that would require a sign that says “End of public maintenance” on any private street at each location where it intersects or abuts a public street. The text amendment to the land subdivision ordinance will then be forwarded to the full council for a vote. That text amendment must also get approval from the Urban County Planning Commission.
That means a final vote won’t come until 2017.
Private streets have caused headaches for homeowner associations and the city for decades. There are 46 miles of private streets in Fayette County. Twelve of the 46 miles are in gated communities and 32 miles are not gated, city officials said during Tuesday’s committee meeting. The largest private street system is Griffin Gate, off Newtown Pike. One of the largest private commercial streets is Mall Road, behind Fayette Mall.
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Several council members said the signs will give homeowners notice that they are buying homes on a private street.
“We’ve dealt with this since 1999,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Mossotti, who asked the city to revisit the issue. “There are a lot of concerns that they are not being built to standards.”
Mossotti said many homeowners don’t know they live on a private street until there’s a problem. Homeowner associations then don’t have the money to repair the street and are stuck with potholes and other problems.
“It’s also a financial burden to these homeowners associations,” Mossotti said. “They don’t understand they are responsible for maintaining these private streets, and they don’t have the means to do so.”
Moreover, private streets don’t get street sweeping or street lights.
Twenty years ago, a developer of a subdivision was allowed to build streets, but sometimes those streets weren’t accepted by the city because they didn’t meet the city’s street specifications.
Jim Duncan, director of planning, said the city now requires that developers build streets to the same standard as public streets. The problem is with those roads built 20 to 30 years ago.
“Over time through different maintenance, the streets start to fail,” Duncan said. “The HOA may not know they have the responsibility to do so and may not have the means to do so.”
Mossotti said the Board of Realtors has agreed to add information in closing documents for homes that are on private streets.
Developers would have to install the signs on roads for any new development. If that requirement is approved, the city might also go back and place the signs on those 46 miles of existing roads that are privately owned, Duncan said.