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EARLIER: School board sues developer

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Discovery Boulevard extension not built

By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Board of Education is suing a development company it says has failed to extend Discovery Boulevard into a thoroughfare for Collins High School.

The board filed suit Wednesday in Shelby Circuit Court, charging that WAZE Development Company, which currently owns and is developing the Catalpagreen subdivision north and east of the school, breached its contract to build the rest of the road by the end of the year.

The extension at issue would connect the north side of Collins’ campus to Midland Industrial Boulevard and then to Freedom’s Way, commonly called the Shelbyville Bypass.

“This roadway has not been constructed as per the contract, and SCPS is asking for it to be completed,” Superintendent James Neihof said in a written statement. “December 2009 was the original deadline date, but a one-year extension was granted until December 2010.”

When the deadline was extended, he said WAZE officials agreed to establish a gravel road that provided emergency access.

Such a road was built, connecting to Ardmore Lane, east of the campus, but the suit claims that WAZE “has failed to grant an easement permitting the use of the gravel road by the board.”

“An easement agreement was prepared by our attorneys, but it has not been signed [by WAZE officials] yet,” Neihof said in an interview.

He also added that the district has used the emergency egress when necessary, but a written agreement is needed to make it permanent.

Stoll Keenon and Ogden, a law firm representing WAZE, did not immediately return phone calls from The Sentinel-News.

According to Ryan Libke, the executive director of the Triple S Planning Commission, an easement is normally a pretty easy thing to be completed.

“Usually, with a residential situation, an easement is written and signed by both parties, and then it’s filed with the county clerk’s office,” he said.

The contract was signed when the board purchased the property for Discovery Boulevard.

“The agreement in the contract was stipulated as such, so the school district would be provided a permanent north-end entrance and egress to the school to avoid a dead-end road,” Neihof said.

The developers, who last year were granted a zoning extension on Catalpagreen, a development of single-family and multifamily homes, have started adding infrastructure for the subdivision, including roads and sewers, but Libke noted that a portion of the subdivision will be brought up at the Triple S meeting on Jan. 18.

“They’ve filed for an extension for part of the area, but we’re under the impression that it is all one subdivision, so another extension would not be necessary since work has started,” he said.

He also noted that the final plat for the Discovery Boulevard extension area has not been filed, which must be done before the road can be completed.

“They wouldn’t have to show lots or anything else with that,” Libke said. “They would just have to show the road and the easement, and it could be submitted.”

When the extension of Discovery Boulevard is completed, it could help alleviate several issues with entering and exiting the school during the peak hours in the morning and afternoon.

“It would help the traffic flow out there with the school, Simpsonville and the industries,” Libke said. “It is going to be a public road, not just a neighborhood, and that extended area is going to have two lanes and a center turning lane.”

The only entrance to school property is off of U.S. 60.