CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The city’s lawyers say until a court decides who really owns two disputed drainage ponds, no one can do anything to them.
As a reminder, Brian Nastruz bought the ponds in the Timberline Valley South subdivision after someone stopped paying the drainage taxes on them. He’s threatened to charge homeowners with trespassing on his land, but in the past, Champaign Police have said they won’t play any part in bullying the neighbors. N
ow they’ve been told there’s something they will have to enforce.
The city says no one can drain them, destroy them, build anything new on them, or make any major changes. Nastruz threatened to do some of those things when he first bought them. City attorneys sent a letter to both him and the TVS Homeowner’s Association, saying if anyone tries to do anything to the properties, the Champaign Police Department has been instructed to stop them. Officers will intervene if anyone tries to change the status quo.
What’s interesting about this is that the city’s attorneys have declared that will be the case until a court of law determines who really owns the ponds. That’s an issue “Nasty Joe” himself already thought was worked out.
Last week, we showed you our exclusive interview with Nastruz. Here’s a part that didn’t make it into that story, but is relevant now: We asked him what would happen if the neighborhood continues to use the ponds as the common areas they were originally intended to be.
“Do I think that they’re going to be able to use the pond as their own common area? No,” said Nastruz.
“Why not?” asked reporter Aaron Eades.
Nastruz: “Because it’s private property.”
Eades: “What if they do?”
Nastruz: “If they do, then they’d be trespassing. And what I said to them was–“
Eades: “How are you going to enforce that? I mean, Champaign police have said that they’re not gonna–“
Nastruz: “I have a property manager down there that will enforce it.”
He claims he has a property manager who lives close by and is keeping an eye on the ponds. Now, the neighborhood will be keeping an eye on them, too.
The homeowner’s association is working with a lawyer and negotiating with Nasty Joe’s. They say the price Nastruz is asking for is too steep, so not much progress is being made on that avenue. Nastruz firmly believes the issue will have to be sorted out in court.
Part of the letter sent by Champaign’s city attorneys says “We understand that emotions are running high but if you witness any activity, you should call the police to intervene and not take matters into your own hands.”
No matter who actually owns the ponds, the subdivision covenants say they’re still defined as commons areas. That means they’ll be free for everyone to use, but as long as Nastruz holds the deeds, he’ll have to pay the taxes on them. He could also be hit with a $100 homeowner’s association fee.