Property predicament at Fairfield Glade - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Property predicament at Fairfield Glade

As far as resort communities go, Fairfield Glade in East Tennessee is top shelf with acres of lakes, high dollar homes, and manicured golf courses.
  
When Memphians Ardell and Daisy Somerville got the sales pitch in 1982, they shelled out 57-hundred dollars for a lot.

Somerville says, "He said that it would triple in value and if you didn't want to keep it you could always sell it and make some money."

The Somervilles told Action News Five the sales pitch he got came with an unwritten promise... roads, and utilities would be in place within a few years.
  
They're still waiting.    
  
After a four hour drive to Fairfield Glade earlier this month, it took us nearly another hour, driving down overgrown dirt paths, dodging trees, just to find Somervilles' lot.
  
The last time they tried to sell it a realtor offered just 300 dollars.

Daisy Somerville continues, "It sounded like a sound investment, but we see that it wasn't."

Turns out the Somervilles own one of 10-thousand undeveloped, overgrown lots at Fairfield Glade --away from the lakes and golf courses-- with no roads, sewer or water.
 
That's nearly two thirds of all property at the Glade.  

Our investigation turned up hundreds of Mid-Southerners who own property at Fairfield Glade.
  
We spoke to dozens who all told me the same story -- they got hustled.
  
During our trip to the Glade I hit up the president of the Community Club Homeowners Association for answers.

Dr. David Prigg with the Fairfield Glade Community Club sayws, "Did they get hustled?  "I wasn't there I don't know."

Dr. David Prigg says he DOES know the original developer sold too many lots too fast for improvements to keep pace.
  
But Prigg wouldn't say if investors like Somerville got swindled.

Prigg continues, "Most of these allegations cannot be proven, because there is nothing in writing whether it was a salesman who told them something to try and get a sale I don't know."

What absentee owners may not know is the Community Club built a six million dollar waste water treatment plant in 1998.
  
Since then, the Club has spent nearly three million dollars extending the sewer system farther into the Glade, but only in the areas where it expects immediate growth.

Prigg says, "We can't do it all at once.  We can't put sewers in and let them sit.  If an area is not going to be built why should we put in sewers."

As for roads and water, that's up to the developer, Fairfield Resorts.  Company officials in Tennessee refused an on camera interview.
  
A spokesperson for its Florida-based parent company, Cendant, sent me this written statement.

According to the statement, "We are aware of issues raised by some property owners relating to their individual development plans and are working cooperatively with the Community Club to arrive at a fair resolution."

But Cendant won't say what that resolution might be or when Mid-Southerners like the Somervilles might see a return on a 25-year old investment.

Action News Five's research found property values at Fairfield Glade do go up once utilities are installed.
    
Glade officials say investors like the Somervilles could see a return down the road, but wouldn't promise if or when.

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