Residents of a Canton Township left out in the cold

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Some residents of Brick Ridge Estates in Canton Township found themselves out in the cold, literally, Thursday night when they showed up at the municipal building to sign documents regarding the housing development, but the building was locked.

Attorney Dwight Ferguson said township supervisors agreed at a public meeting last month to permit 16 homeowners to meet in the township building to sign papers to resolve title problems that have held up at least one homeowner’s efforts to sell their home.

Ferguson said he sent three letters to Canton Township solicitor Dennis Makel detailing the agenda of the meeting and included the date and time of the meeting, but did not receive a reply.

Supervisors Robert Franks and Jack Sheppard said they were not aware that the Brick Ridge residents planned to have a meeting Thursday and that it was not an official township meeting.

“As far as the supervisors go, nobody knew there was a meeting there tonight,” said Franks. “Nothing was scheduled to be held in the municipal building.”

The Brick Ridge residents who drove to the meeting were frustrated that township officials did not open the building after Ferguson said he contacted Supervisor Sam Beard to let him know that the doors were locked.

Beard could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

“This is ridiculous,” said Brick Ridge Estates resident Alma Sasfai. “I pay over $4,000 in taxes to this township and this is how I get treated. I’ve been attending meetings for the past year to get some resolution.”

Ferguson said his client, developer Angelo Quarture, attempted to clear up the title problems that occurred before Quarture purchased the undeveloped portion of Brick Ridge Estates. The original developer was Michael Williamson Sr., who purchased 38 acres in 2006 to build Brick Ridge Estates, but ran into problems when the housing market crashed.

“The developed part had significant title problems, and as a condition of approval for Mr. Quarture to develop the remainder of the property, it was necessary to fix the title problems that the homeowners in the developed section have,” said Ferguson. “The objective was to have the entire Brick Ridge Estate plan under the direction of one homeowners association. That’s what Canton Township wanted, but the title problems destroyed that. So Mr. Quarture had to fix this by involving other neighbors. Tonight was to get the residents to sign the papers to fix the title documents, and we did that. The easy part, getting into a building and turning the lights on, wasn’t so easy.”

Franks said he thinks the Brick Ridge Estates homeowners could have found a different location and that there was no reason for them to complete their paperwork outdoors at a card table and using flashlights.

“This has been an ongoing issue. I believe the township has gone out of its way to assist the development’s residents, but I understand that the residents don’t think that’s the case,” said Franks. “I hate like heck that people had to be out there in the cold, but I’m sure they could have gone to one of the homeowners’ houses where they would have been a lot warmer.”

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