City water lines should be installed to reach five undeveloped lots in Heritage Farms subdivision, the city operations committee says.

The city will seek bids for a contractor to bore under the street, which was poured without the required conduit for the water lines.

The issue was discussed at the July 8 operations committee meeting, after a developer of three of the lots appeared at the July 1 board of aldermen meeting asking for water to his lots so he can build homes on them.

In 2004, the city approved Heritage Farms subdivision, a 37-unit development on South Highway N, but only half of the subdivision was completed by the original builder.

The original developer, Lawless Homes, abandoned the development and Paramount Properties LLC became the successor developer. But by 2009, Paramount also abandoned the development and was in default of its letter of credit guaranteeing completion of the subdivision improvements.

Some 19 lots remained to be developed in the 28-home subdivision, which are owned by 10 separate owners.

In the fall of 2011, builders began to petition aldermen to put in the streets to the undeveloped lots so they could build homes.

The city tapped into escrow funds of the Heritage Farms’ original developer to build Meadow Grass Drive, paving the way for the remaining lots in the subdivision to be developed.

Aldermen also awarded a contract with Gold Star Paving to complete the work for a cost of $164,983.20. But builders cannot find sleeves for water service to the five undeveloped lots.

Cost to do the work is approximately $4,500, which would be paid out of the $34,000 in remaining escrow funds left by the original developer.

Aldermen and former public works director Ed Gass told committee members that the city should let bids for a contractor to bore under the streets and install the sleeves for water lines.

“We should be able to get someone to come in there and set it up,” Gass said. “It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to do that.”

Chairman Bates voiced concerns that some homeowners in the completed part of the subdivision had paid to have water lines brought to their lots. He questioned how the city could to something free for the remaining lot owners that was not done for the original buyers.

“The fact that the original developer did not do it is not our fault,” Mayor Jeff Palmore said. “Now that we’re involved, we’re trying to do the right thing. The escrow was created in case they (the developer) didn’t do it right.”

Attorney Matt Schroeder said the subdivision homeowners who had paid the original contractor for water lines might have an action against people they bought their house from, but not against the city.

Gass said City Engineer Dan Rahn should get some bids and see what it will cost to get in there and do it right.

“We need an RFP (request for proposal) for design and specs,” he said.