Controversy Continues over Ashley Oaks Construction Methods

During a rainfall on Monday, May 28, a river of mud and water swept rocks and gravel off the cleared lots and down the street.

Some Ashley Oaks residents said one of their worst nightmares was realized on Memorial Day when a flood of muddy water carrying rocks and gravel flowed down Winding Oak Way and into wetlands behind the lots at the lower end of the road.

While WIS-TV reported only a quarter inch of rain that day, it seemed like much more to residents who angrily watched and videoed the flow of water as it spilled over slit fencing around newly graded lots and flowed swiftly down the winding roadway.

Residents of the wooded subdivision of expensive homes worry that Crown Communities will change the character of their neighborhood with its methods of construction. The contractor has dug out as much as 12-15 feet of some lots to make them flat, leaving tall walls of dirt around the lots.

Many of the residents say Crown’s construction practices are a departure from the neighborhood’s heretofore strict building standards, tree preservation and architectural guidelines that were put in place by Ashley Oaks’ developer Mike Shelly.

The economy forced Shelly’s construction company into chapter 11 bankruptcy two years ago and, ultimately, foreclosure which culminated in July 2011, when he deeded the remaining lots to First Palmetto Savings Bank in Camden in lieu of foreclosure.

Now the bank has architectural authority over the lots and has passed that authority along to Crown Communities.