Nine St. Simons Island residents and the developers of two subdivisions off North Harrington Road were ordered into mediation this month in a lawsuit claiming negligent development practices.

Earlier this month, Glynn County Superior Court Judge Robert Guy ordered the two parties to engage in the court’s alternative dispute resolution process, with a requirement that they complete it no later than May 1.

“The parties shall schedule and complete mediation no later than May 1, 2020,” the order states. “All parties and/or their fully-authorized representatives with full settlement authority are required to attend the mediation. Though this order mandates attendance and a good-faith effort to resolve the issues, it does not mandate settlement.”

The lawsuit was originally filed in June by nine St. Simons Island residents, each of whom either lives on or owns property near the Tabby Place and Captain’s Cove subdivisions along North Harrington Road.

The plaintiffs claim, among other things, that the developers’ negligence and attempts to cut corners led to “excess volumes of stormwater” flowing onto neighboring properties, “resulting in flooding and other property damage” including the discharge of sewage from on-site sewage systems.

The plaintiffs also cite inspection reports by local and state agencies, which found that the developers allegedly failed to “properly protect natural resources, such as wetlands,” “adequately maintain perimeter controls such as sediment barriers,” “properly stabilize or protect disturbed areas not actively being worked on” and “failed to properly maintain storm drain inlets.”

Mortgage of America, developer of the Captain’s Cove subdivision, delivered its response in August, stating that it “denies it was negligent in any way and further denies that any negligent act on its part caused or contributed to the alleged injury or damages of plaintiff.“

Attorneys for Old Plantation Group and Palmetto Building Group, developers of Tabby Place, filed a response in September. Both denied the allegations of misconduct and negligence, as well as any claims that they had not complied with any federal, state or local laws, ordinances or rules.

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