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Tax Settlement Reached in Sarah's Trace Case

Settlement does not end pending lawsuit.

50 Sarah's Trace, the home of Chris and Susan Lamendloa, who have sued the town for alleged damage to their homes. (Photo: Northeast Revaluation Group)
50 Sarah's Trace, the home of Chris and Susan Lamendloa, who have sued the town for alleged damage to their homes. (Photo: Northeast Revaluation Group)
The residents of Sarah's Trace, who filed suit against the town alleging damage to their homes caused by the construction of Archie R. Cole Middle School, will see their taxes cut in half through 2016 and will be paid legal fees and costs after the Town Council approved a settlement agreement earlier this week.

The council voted 3-0 on Monday to approve the settlement, which signals a possible end to the legal battle in the near future.

The lawsuit, filed in 2011, alleges that construction activity caused cracks to the foundations and walls to their houses and other structures during the construction process between 2009 and 2011.

The lawsuit was filed by residents Susan and Christopher Lamendola, along with residents Keith and Wendy Amelotte and Thomas Hogan and Cynthia Pelosi, who claim their houses should be assessed with no value and seeks damages and payment of legal fees.

Though the settlement doesn't end the legal case, which is due for a hearing on July 28, it signals the town and the residents could be coming close to a final resolution.  

The settlement is the the end result of negotiations that began after the town and the residents tried to end an appeal process that began in 2012 when the residents first sought relief by appealing their tax assessments. 

Town Council members said they thought the settlement was in the best interest of the town.

Though it's unclear how much the settlement will cost the town, estimates based on the properties' existing assessed values and the 50 percent reduction through 2016 show it will cost at least $70,000 in lost taxes and legal fees.

Under the agreement, the property owners would pay a total of $61,000 in taxes per year — an average of about $5,000 per resident. The total assessed value for the houses is $1.3 million. 

The agreement still needs to be ratified by the town solicitor and lawyers for the property owners.
EG Lawyer44 July 18, 2014 at 09:57 AM
I find it amusing that the Town Council thinks the settlement is in the best interest of the town…..don’t you think the residents of Sarah’s Trace are members of the town….where was the town when the damage was happening and who was in charge when the damage was occurring…..my God it’s their homes. Seems it wasn’t in their best interest. I’m sure the town had to have these homes appraised by an RE expert and got some bad news….$70,000 plus legal bills is no chump change……and it doesn’t sound like these houses can be in very good condition with this settlement and I’m sure the town couldn’t afford to get a ruling against them. As always all the taxpayers will have to pay for the nonsense of the politicians. I’m sure this doesn’t end this saga as what happens after 2016…..? Will the town subrogate and seek reimbursement for this?

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