Settlement agreement over Lake Juniper subdivision unraveling

A settlement between Mohave County officials and a homeowner over road and other improvements appears to be unraveling.

"My position is that the settlement agreement has been breached," Lake Juniper Estates homeowner Patti Lewis said.

"You know, I have been at this (lawsuit) for five years.

I'm tired of it."

Lewis, who lives in the subdivision west of Stockton Hill Road north of Kingman, has gone back to Mohave County Superior Court, accusing the county of not living up to an October 2002 settlement.

She filed a motion March 21 for judgment to enforce the agreement and request sanctions and relief.

However, County Attorney Bill Ekstrom contends in court documents filed July 2 that the subdivision plat as approved in 1990 did not require the installation of fire hydrants and other fire protection.

He is urging visiting Judge Michael Burke to rule in favor of the county on the issue of fire protection.

Arguments have been scheduled for Aug.

1.

Ekstrom said the county contracted to have roads built to serve the subdivision and is adhering to the settlement agreement.

"We are doing our best," Ekstrom said.

"We have been very close on these things."

Ekstrom said he does not think the settlement agreement has collapsed, adding, "I think we are trying to resolve some disagreements.

The county is acting in good faith."

Lewis, who ran unsuccessfully for county supervisor as a Republican in 2000, disagrees.

"Mr.

Ekstrom and I have agreed to disagree," she said.

"The homeowners do not agree with him at all."

Lewis said she is dissatisfied with the roadwork and has two outside engineers who back her up.

"Once (county officials) take over the roads, they have to maintain them," Lewis said.

"The roads are all cracked.

They don't have the road markers.

There's 45 road markers that are supposed to be at every corner, and they are missing.

And there is no stop signs.

There is supposed to be eight of them."

County public works director Mike Hendrix declined to comment because of the lawsuit.

The court file shows that he signed a letter dated April 29, certifying roads in Lake Juniper were paved and the water system completed.

Lewis' attorney, Jared Smith of Kingman, faults the county on the issue of fire protection in a document filed June 18.

Among other things, he stated that as of that date the county did not provide his client evidence of attempts to obtain emergency access to large water tanks in the area owned by Marc Neal and the city of Kingman.

The water would be for fire protection.

The document stated that the chief for the Hualapai Valley Fire District has made fire hydrants or an alternative system of protection a condition of building a residence in the subdivision, which has 73 lots.

Lewis was recently appointed to the board of the fire district.

She has owned property at Lake Juniper for more than eight years.

Developer Richard Neal built the subdivision, but he never completed it.

Superior Court Judge Steven Conn sentenced Neal to three years in state prison in May 2001 after he was convicted of forging the signatures of former county supervisor Carol Anderson and Randy Bartlett, a Superior Court judge.

Instead of hiring contractors to install infrastructure, Neal put up property as assurance the infrastructure work would be completed.

He lost ownership to the county in 1999.

The county sold former Kingman real estate agent Robert Gilham more than 65 acres for more than $248,000 during an auction in October 1999.