Developer to finish apartment construction after court ruling

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ruled last week that Phase III of Arbor Creek Apartments, owned by Jeremiah Oltmans, is not subject to a 2011 ban placed on apartment construction in Bryant and that Oltmans' request to extend his building permit is not prohibited by the ban.
Oltmans is owner of Oltmans Development Inc.
The developer filed a lawsuit against the city Feb. 22, asking the court to order the city to grant a building permit extension, after a dispute on whether his project was subject to the ban caused significant delay in the project's completion.
Oltmans was given the first building permit for Phase III on Jan. 26, 2011, and the ban on apartment permits was put into place the next day.
Since then, construction on the project has been halted.
A few months ago, the city turned down Oltmans' request for an extension on the building permit, alleging the extension itself would be prohibited by the ban on apartment permits, Oltmans said.
The Arbor Creek Apartments project, located on Reynolds Road in Bryant, has been in the works since 2009, and there have been numerous issues involving Oltmans, the City Council and the Planning Commission, Oltmans said.
"It took over a year to get the permit for Phase I," he added.
Greg Huggs, director of code enforcement, said a 12-month permit extension has been issued for Phase III, which includes six units.
Oltmans said he is arranging for surveying of the property Friday and plans to begin construction next week.
The lawsuit is wrapping up not long before the City Council meeting on March 28, at which time the apartment ban likely will be lifted if new, stricter multifamily housing standards are approved.
"The only one who benefited from all this was my lawyer," Oltmans said. "I just got to keep doing what I was doing."
Oltmans said he plans to build any future developments in the city of Benton.