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A class-action lawsuit filed by a group of Diamondhead property owners and residents claimed a Colorado developer is hurting property values in the gated subdivision and damaging the environment.

The complaint filed last week in Garland County Circuit Court said Omni Home Builders at Diamondhead Resort Community LLC's clearing of lots it acquired last year violated the community's rules and regulations. The filing said the Evergreen, Colo., company owns 1,600 undeveloped lots. According to property records, Omni acquired the Garland and Hot Spring County real estate from Diamondhead Resort Community Inc. in July 2018 for $2.4 million.

The complaint said wholesale clear cutting has damaged property values and the environment. It also named the Diamondhead Property Owner's Association as a defendant, claiming the POA has enabled Omni by not enforcing the nuisance provision in the community's bill of assurance or requiring it to obtain permits.

A copy of the subdivision's building regulations attached to the complaint said property owners are required to get a permit before they begin clearing a lot.

The motion the POA filed earlier this week seeking to postpone the hearing scheduled Monday on the plaintiffs' request to halt Omni's activity said clear cutting has ceased, and that the POA has requested that Omni obtain permits to continue logging in Diamondhead. The continuance was granted with no objection from the plaintiffs, according to court records.

Charles Matthews, the plaintiffs' attorney, said Friday that the clear cutting has stopped. He said Omni has told residents it intends to build homes on the cleared lots, but that he's been unable to contact Omni or its representatives. A call to Mark Lane, one of the company's owners, wasn't returned.

The complaint a Diamondhead resident filed last month with the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment's Division of Environmental Quality expressed concern about Omni's logging activity, which the court filing said has "despoiled and depredated" the subdivision.

DEQ told the resident that it doesn't regulate logging activity, but that Omni will have to apply for a construction stormwater general permit if it plans to develop the cleared lots. According to the complaint, the logging occurred on the Hot Spring County side of Diamondhead.

Garland County's Environmental Inspections Department said lot clearing in the county requires a stormwater permit, but that Hot Spring County isn't subject to the same requirements. DEQ said Hot Spring County doesn't meet population levels requiring a stormwater management program, but that Garland is one of seven counties mandated to manage stormwater under the Clean Water Act.

Local on 12/15/2019

Print Headline: Diamondhead residents sue Colorado developer

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