Charlotte homeowners concerned over who’s paying to fix subdivision roads

WBTV Investigates: North Carolina state lawmakers act to help residents.
For months WBTV has investigated problems homeowners have with HOAs, developers, and orphaned roads. Now, lawmakers in Raleigh are proposing some solutions.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Lawmakers in Raleigh are seeking solutions to the problems highlighted in months of WBTV investigations into HOAs, developers, and orphan roads. More than half a dozen bills were filed by state legislators and several of them are still moving forward or seeking state funding to fix the issues addressed in WBTV’s reporting.

Communities across the Carolinas have been reaching out to WBTV with nearly identical issues. Roads and infrastructure in their subdivision weren’t built properly by the developer and the cost to fix it could fall on residents and the homeowner association.

When a developer completes construction of a subdivision, the roads are usually transferred over to the town or the state to be maintained with taxpayer dollars. But in many neighborhoods, the roads don’t meet the minimum standards of the North Carolina Department of Transportation or local municipality so instead of being transferred to taxpayers, they remain in limbo.

State Senator Vickie Sawyer from Mooresville filed a bill to create new fail-safes for that process after she says she learned of an accident on an orphan road involving a three-year-old girl.

“It’s one of my top priorities since I’ve been in the legislature,” Sen Sawyer told WBTV.

If Sawyer’s bill were to become law, developers would have to have to guarantee up to 20% of the cost of the road in a bond in case it doesn’t meet NCDOT standards. There would also be a new four-year timeline for NCDOT or local government to take over the road. These new fail-safes would help make sure homeowners aren’t the ones left responsible.

“(Homeowners) don’t have the ability or the money or just the wherewithal to fix these and they have to drive through that every day and that’s frustrating,” Sawyer said.

While Sawyer’s bill aims to fix the problem with orphan roads moving forward, other actions from lawmakers seek to remedy issues neighborhoods are currently facing.

WBTV previously reported on how residents in the Palisades are worried they’ll have to pay for repairs on Grand Palisades Parkway since NCDOT won’t accept the road to the state highway system.

State Senator DeAndrea Salvador filed a local bill to provide $750,000 in funding to make repairs on Grand Palisades Parkway and another $5,000,000 for other orphan roads in Mecklenburg County. Salvador told WBTV she’s seeking to get the money added to the state budget since the bill didn’t advance from the North Carolina House before last week.

Homeowners at the Palisades now tell WBTV that developer Lennar is moving to transfer control of the HOA to the homeowners, even though the future of road repairs hasn’t been determined.

Another bill that did pass the House would create a subcommittee of lawmakers to investigate HOA oversight issues. If created, the committee would study North Carolina’s current HOA laws and examine whether an existing state agency could be counted on to help homeowners resolve HOA complaints and violations of law.

Sawyer says homeowners who have something at stake should make sure their elected officials know how important these issues are to them.

“Definitely reach out to your house member, your state senator, but also to your local county commissioners,” Sawyer said.

To find contact information for your elected officials click here.

Below are links to legislation filed this year related to HOAs and orphan roads.

H311 – House Select Committee on HOAs

S635 – Orphan Roads

S685 – Funds for Orphan Roads in Mecklenburg Co.

H733 – Orphan Roads DOT Maintenance Program

S261 – Funds to Repair Orphan Roads in Durham County

S376 – Expanding Members’ Access to HOA Records

H805 – Prevent Abusive HOA Foreclosure Practices