322-acre Sierra de Montserrat foreclosed on

$20 million owed on defunct tract
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Neighbors are concerned about the uncertain future of Sierra de Montserrat after a bank fore-closed on the property. “Our concern is for the neighborhood and what is going to happen to it,” said Irene Smith, whose home borders the Montserrat development. Smith said she is also concerned about the project’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions and wonders if they will be changed by the foreclosure. According to Keith Maresca, of Comerica’s project analysis department, the financial institution recently foreclosed on 50 of the 62 estate lots located on the 322-acre development. Two differ-ent trustee sales have been held for the unpaid loan balance of more than $20 million. Since no buyers came forward, Comerica retains control. “The bank is researching now to decide the best way to handle the properties,” Maresca said. Loomis Town Manager Perry Beck said that 20 percent of Montserrat is still owned by Curt Westwood, and the bank exercised its rights to outstanding loan amounts when it took control of 80 percent of the lots. He said there is “legal maneuvering” going on now between Westwood Homes and the bank. Patrick Shay, executive director of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, said Westwood put up an endowment to maintain the open space on the property and that the money “is safe and depos-ited.” His group continues to monitor the open space areas. He also said that the open space cannot be fenced or used by the property owners for grazing. “My understanding is that the CC&Rs cannot be changed and that the easements will stand,” Shay said. Montserrat is located at the northeast corner of Barton Road and Wells Avenue. The develop-ment’s lots have a minimum size of 4.6 acres. Each lot has a building envelope of approximately one acre. The remainder of each lot is held in a conservation easement managed by Wildlife Heritage Foundation and is unbuildable. Those easements form an open space of 67 acres of oak woodland preservation areas, 92 acres of wetland preservation areas and 45 acres of vineyard. Westwood Homes, Incorporated, holds the remainder of the unsold lots. Private owners hold two lots. Curtis Westwood, president of Westwood Homes, wrote in an e-mail Moonday, “For the next couple of weeks our attorneys have told us not to comment.”