For the second time, builder Vincent Trombetta has asked the Mount Airy Town Council to release part of the $20,000 bond on seven town houses in the Tall Oaks development before the project is completed.
And, for the second time, the request was denied.
"[The $20,000] is only a fraction of what we should be holding," said Councilman Marc Nance at Monday's meeting.
"If we grant this, we are violating what we are doing with every other builder," Mr. Nance said.
Normally, 110 percent of a development's value is placed in a bond before a project is begun, he said. The money is gradually released as the development is completed until the town retains 10 percent of the value.
After the final use-and-occupancy permit is issued and the council performs a final inspection, the money is held for a year to make sure there are no problems with the development.
Two use-and-occupancy permits have yet to be issued in the project.
"We are not ready to make the final walk-through," said Council President Delaine Hobbs. "After everything is completed and we have the final walk-through, we can discuss this again."
Although Tall Oaks residents have had several complaints over the past few months -- a lack of fencing around sediment-control ponds, tot lots not built, and problems with algae and ice on a continually flooded sidewalk -- those issues don't affect the bond, said Mayor Gerald R. Johnson Jr.
Residents and council members are still trying to determine whether the developer, Jim Frey of Frall Development, or the builder, Mr. Trombetta, is responsible for the work not being completed as promised.
"[The bond is for] any road damage or sewage we have to clean out, things like that," Mayor Johnson said.
However, council members are reluctant to release the money early because of pressure from residents.
"The town is in a bit of a bind because of pressure from the developer and pressure from the residents," said Laurie Hagar, who lives in Tall Oaks.
"That's the only money the town holds on the development," she said.
In addition, the town already has had to clean debris out of the sewer system in the development.
"There's probably not enough in that bond to cover it if we have to [clean it] again," Mr. Hobbs said.
Mr. Trombetta's attorney, Jeff Griffith, said the bond is too high for the current economic climate.
"That's a lot of money to keep in bond for a year after the work is over," he said.
"We all know how tough this economy is. My client is saying all the heavy work is done," he said.
But Ms. Hagar said that work will be for nought after the developer fixes the residents' four-page list of concerns.
For example, about 210 loads of dirt must be removed from one of the tot lots before play equipment can be placed on it.
"We are going to have problems with the street in that last section if we have to bring in heavy equipment to haul off all that dirt," Ms. Hagar said.