Marshall Co. Residents React To Pointe Vista Lawsuit Vote - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Marshall Co. Residents React To Pointe Vista Lawsuit Vote

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MARSHALL COUNTY, OK -- A state commission has voted to sue the developer of a proposed four-star hotel near Kingston.

Under the contract, the hotel is supposed to be almost done by May. With only a few months left until that deadline and no work started, it appears this matter is now going to court.

The Commissioners of the Land Office, which includes the governor and lieutenant governor, voted to sue Oklahoma City-based Pointe Vista Development, saying they've worked for months to reach a solution, and are left with few options to get a "desirable outcome."

"I'm glad they're doing something. We're glad to finally see some action on this," says Marshall County Commissioner Chris Duroy of District 3.

Pointe Vista officials said in a statement they are "disappointed to learn about the decision to litigate," and that the issues are complex, and involve "multiple departments of the State."

They "will be compelled to re-focus on the lawsuit" and re-assess whether to fund an Army Corps of Engineers environmental study, and this path "will delay any development efforts for many years."

"The EIS study has not even been paid for, therefore it hasn't been started. That's still several years out. Basically that contract with the Tourism Department and Pointe Vista we felt like just needed to go away," says Duroy.

"My fear has always been that it would end up in the courts and it could drag on for years and I was hoping that maybe some settlement could be reached and somebody else maybe could take over," says State Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill.

The old lodge was removed and last year some of the cabins along the entrance to the park were also demolished, but many cabins remain and there's no sign of any new construction.

"I mean I just feel sorry for the people that are having to put up with this," says camper Don Havins. "The people that's come down here for years and years and years you know."

"Just a great view and the kids have a good time here and just a really good place," says camper Kenna White.

Locally, Duroy says county commissioners recently voted to remove a "TIF" tax district on Area C of the project, even though it remains on Area A and Area B, which are being bought by Pointe Vista. He says the decision came after Pointe Vista discussed building some condos.

"When they came down and talked to the city of Kingston and the Marshall County Water Department, we weren't invited. Basically, we've been left out of this whole thing all the way and we just felt like we needed to do something," says Duroy.

Pointe Vista officials said in a statement they had hoped construction activities would have started years ago, and that didn't happen "mostly because the EIS has not been completed."

"If it'd improve the economy yeah I would say it would be a good idea and all but as long as it don't obstruct anything," says Bill Ayers, a new resident of the area.

"It's too late for Pointe Vista. They can't build what they said they would have built, so sell it to someone who will come in here and develop this area or let it go back to the state," says Duroy.

Pointe Vista officials have told KTEN the company plans to make the final $2 million payment on the $14.6 million land purchase next month.

There may be a small window for another solution because the lawsuit has not yet been filed, according to the CLO.

 

The following statements on the matter were released:

From CLO Secretary Harry Birdwell: "The Commissioners of the Land Office has worked for months to reach a solution that will bring economic development to the area. However, in the last few weeks it has become increasingly clear that a lawsuit is one of the few remaining options to achieve a desirable outcome for the community. Today's decision does not mean we will lessen our efforts if other options present themselves."

From State Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate: "The CLO decision to bring suit against Pointe Vista LLC is directly attributable to the countless letters and meeting attendance by constituents of Marshall and Bryan counties over the past many months. I am pleased Oklahoma's statewide office holders, through what was a unanimous vote, are signaling their dedication to hold Pointe Vista accountable."


From State Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill: "The development should be an economic opportunity for the area, but because the developer has not fulfilled the terms of the contract, it is becoming a wasted opportunity. I regret that it is necessary to bring a lawsuit to resolve this matter but think it is appropriate and timely. I am also supportive of the actions taken by Marshall County commissioners to modify the TIF district where the development lies, which will also be a step in correcting the problem. 

"Tourism is the No. 3 economic engine that drives this state and my constituents have suffered with the loss of the dollars this development could have brought into the community. Small businesses in the area, the backbone of our economy, have closed their doors during this period of inaction."

 

From Pointe Vista Development today: "We were disappointed  to learn today the Commissioners of Land Office decided to litigate the contract. The issues are complex and involve multiple agreements and multiple departments of the State including not only the Commissioners of Land Office but also the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.   Any litigation brought by the Commissioners of Land Office will likely result in further actions with possibly additional parties to fully vet all the issues.  At this point, we will be compelled to refocus our efforts on the lawsuit and reassess whether to proceed with providing additional funding for the Corps of Engineers' lake-wide Environmental Impact Study further delaying that process.    This legal path will most assuredly delay any development efforts for many years. "


From Pointe Vista Development's public relations last month in response to request from KTEN reporter Meredith Yeomans: "We will be making the final  $2.2 million payment on the total $14.6 million purchase price as outlined in the contract.  Despite the severe impact on the ability to secure financing for hospitality and residential projects during economic downturn from 2008 through 2011, we faithfully made the required payments on time and in full.  Our payments reflect our unwavering commitment to this project.   In accordance with the agreement, we will have completed the purchase of the land with our January payment."

"As we have said on several occasions, we had hoped construction activities would have started years ago.   It didn't happen mostly because the EIS has not been completed.  While the delays are unfortunate, similar projects have been indefinitely stalled and outright abandoned.  We made the payments and remain committed even today to the Texoma development."