Live Oak boom-era subdivision a bust
Head west on Pennington Road and take a right on Luther in Live Oak to see where the multimillion-dollar, 192-lot Garden Glen development was supposed to go.
During the boom years, a Bay Area-based developer proposed the residential project with homes amid streets, including Jasmine Drive, Lilac Court and Tulip Avenue.
But the builder went bankrupt and the 44-acre site for Garden Glen has no homes and stubs of roads — blocked by a metal guardrail — where other streets into the subdivision were to run.
"It was a piece of that part of town that never got developed," City Councilman Gary Baland said this week. "They were too late in the game when things fell apart."
An engineer estimated the cost in 2006 at $5.6 million, but Live Oak seeks only the costs for the improvements. The partial work that has been done will reduce that figure.
A long legal road has followed with a Jan. 29 trial in Yuba County Superior Court rescheduled for August in the lawsuit Live Oak filed against the insurance company that bonded the project. A separate lawsuit in Sutter County involves the Insurance Company of the West and Royal Bank of Canada, which acquired the Garden Glen property in a foreclosure.
Live Oak has agreed to give more time to the insurance company and bank to try and work an agreement to fund and complete other improvements at Garden Glen.
"This is a leftover piece of the boom," City Manager Jim Goodwin said. "And what the city was left with are legal lots not supported by full public improvements.
"The city is simply seeking the installation of all improvements," he said.
The City Council in 2011 passed a moratorium on building permits for the subdivision. Then-city planner Denis Cook had noted lots could potentially be sold to the public.
Some of the subdivision improvements including road work were completed, but the insurance company had not agreed to finish all of them, Cook had said.
Insurance Company of the West did not return messages left Thursday for its media representative.
Baland said Wednesday that Live Oak is not unique in having such undeveloped residential property.
He said the city awaits an improved real estate market.
"It's going to start in Sacramento and work its way north," Baland said.
But when Live Oak sees improved conditions, the councilman added, the community will concentrate on commercial growth rather than residential.
"It is what's going to drive Live Oak," Baland said.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.