4/29/2021 3:46:00 PM Town incurs $6,758 in Summerfield Farms Village legal fees
by CHRIS BURRITT
SUMMERFIELD - Exploratory talks regarding developer David Couch's proposal to expand Summerfield Farms have resulted in legal fees estimated at $6,758 for the town of Summerfield.
The estimate covers expenses through March 31, according to Dee Hall, the town's finance officer. She provided the figure during the council's meeting April 13 when council members were discussing whether Couch should help pay for the town's legal, administrative and other expenses related to his proposal for Summerfield Farms Village.
Last September, Couch, CEO of Blue Ridge Cos., unveiled plans for residential and commercial development of 650 acres adjacent to Summerfield Farms on Pleasant Ridge Road. The proposal would require the cooperation of Guilford County and the city of Greensboro in providing water and sewer services to the project.
Summerfield Town Council authorized Town Attorney Bob Hornik to explore the proposal with attorneys representing Couch and the two other jurisdictions. The developer has made no formal proposal, leading Town Manager Scott Whitaker to suggest the council adopt a deposit and reimbursement agreement requiring Couch to cover town expenses related to the project.
"Do we just absorb that cost over the course of how many months or longer?" Whitaker said. "Or do we say, 'hey, the developer needs to foot some of the exploration (costs) of this concept?'"
The council voted 5-0 to authorize Whitaker to prepare a draft of an agreement for the council's review during its next meeting May 11.
Among options discussed by council members earlier this month, the agreement could require Couch to give the town $20,000, which would be deposited into an account for the payment of the town's legal and other costs related to Summerfield Farms Village. The developer could be required to replenish the fund when its balance dropped to $5,000, according to the council's discussions. It didn't settle on any financial terms.
"It seems like a reasonable thing to do to try to protect the taxpayers from paying too much of the financial load," Hornik told the council.