Published On: Tue, Dec 12th, 2017

Smart Homes continues to annoy its neighbor

PHILIPSBURG – In May of this year Fernett Payne called in the help of the now defunct Today newspaper to report about a dispute with real estate developer Smart Homes. The developer broke Payne’s fence, put rocks on her property in Defiance and refused to do anything about it when she complained. Now Payne has sought legal counsel to settle the matter.

The report in Today triggered an angry phone call from Smart Homes director Henry Lynch, the ousted director of the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation who growled why the paper had the nerve to publish about the situation, but that’s where the story stopped. Now Smart Homes has crossed another line by starting works for its Serenity Estates development on land that actually belongs to Payne.

Last Friday, the developer took down Payne’s fence, drilling one fence post from a heavy rock, to facilitate the construction of what looks like a concreted walkway. This – as yet unfinished – path runs over Payne’s property.

To add insult to injury, Lynch started constructing Serenity Estate without a permit – a situation the ministry of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure corrected afterwards. But nothing was done with Payne’s complaints about the infringements on her property.

Fernett Payne is a 67-year old pensioner who has lived in Defiance since 1986 – more than thirty years.

In December of last year, Payne undertook many actions to get the situation corrected. She turned to VROMI, received several visits from the Cadastre, went to the Prosecutor’s Office, the police and the Ombudsman. Nothing changed and now Payne has had enough.

Her attorney, Richard Gibson Jr., is currently looking into the situation to see what can be done to get Smart Homes and Henry Lynch off his client’s back.

Since May, progress with the construction of Serenity Estate has been slow. On Monday afternoon there was just one construction worker on the site.

Fernett Payne

Photo caption: Fernett Payne stands near the big rock from which Smart Homes removed a fence pole to accommodate the construction of a concreted walkway. Photo Hilbert Haar.