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City: Building agreement limited sewer allocation

September 10, 2005|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A state allocation agreement kept the City of Hagerstown from fully approving sewer service for a North End apartment project, the city's response to a lawsuit says.

The city and the state reached the agreement, or "consent judgment," on Jan. 12.

By that date, the owners of the Cortpark apartment project, off Leitersburg Pike, had asked the city for sewer service for some buildings, but not for others, the response says.

Two limited liability companies building the apartments, Cortpark LLC and Cortpark II LLC, sued the city on July 21, asking for the rest of the permits they need, $25 million or both.

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The apartments are part of a larger development mix that includes town houses and duplexes.

Cortpark's 432 apartments have been broken into two development phases, each with 18 buildings.

An amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs Tuesday is signed by Ben Shaool, "individually and as managing member" of the two limited liability corporations.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington County Circuit Court, says the city "without cause or justification, failed and refused to issue" 27 of the 36 building permits the plaintiffs sought for the apartments.

The plaintiffs say the lack of building permits disrupted their construction schedule and puts them at risk of defaulting on an $18.5 million loan.

But the city's motion for dismissal or for summary judgment, filed Aug. 25, says the plaintiffs had to apply for and receive sanitary sewer service before they received building permits.

The city's response says the developers were approved for service for six buildings before Hagerstown entered into its sewer agreement with the state.

The applications for buildings 7, 8 and 9 - each with 12 units - came in after the agreement took effect. However, since the agreement allowed 40 units to receive sewer service, the city approved service for the 36 units in those three buildings, the response says.

The response says the developers also applied for - and did not receive - service for buildings 10 through 18 after the city's agreement with the state took effect.

However, the city since has approved sewer service for four more buildings, or 48 units. More units in the development will be on the 2006 list for sewer allocation, the city's response says.

As of Friday, a court date had not been set for the case and a judge had not been assigned.

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