Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where's my neighbors' outrage?

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More than two years ago I found roof trusses here that were barely attached. I tried to warn my neighbors. The response from residents here with Pulte's shoddy construction was underwhelming. Where is their outrage?

"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

Then I was kicked off the community’s website (http://www.oursuncityhiltonhead.net/). A homeowner, like the rest of my neighbors, who helps pay for the website, is kicked off for criticizing Pulte--not that there isn't a LOT to criticize. It's un-American; but, not a peep from the community. Where's their outrage?

"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

Since then I’ve posted about shoddily constructed lagoons and stucco on another website (www.myschh.com/) with very little response from homeowners here. Where's their outrage?

"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

I understand that some residents don’t have a construction background and can’t recognize shoddy construction; but, what about those who do, and can? Their silence is DEAFENING. Where's their outrage?

"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

I REALLY don’t understand the homeowners and neighborhood and community association reps who sing Pulte’s praises. By now they must realize that Pulte has left homeowners and the community with shoddy construction problems. Individually we've had to deal with barely attached roof trusses, missing bracing, roofs that leak, cracked foundations, defective stucco, etc. Collectively, as a community, we've had to deal with poorly constructed lagoons, a collapsed retaining wall, sewage spills, etc. Who knows what other Pulte shoddy construction problems that we'll be dealing with in the future? Yet some homeowners here are selling for Pulte, singing their praises, and trying to get others to buy. Where's their outrage?


"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

Does anybody else, who isn't afraid to speak up against Pulte's shoddy construction, "get it"? YOU are the ones paying the bills for Pulte's shoddy construction.

If you're someone who "gets it", and who isn't afraid, then post here (http://peretired.blogspot.com/ ), on http://citizensrevoltagainstpulte.blogspot.com/, or on www.myschh.com/ .

"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke
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thank you for sharing

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a post from a SCHH resident on
www.myschh.com/

"Being fairly new here, I'm not as cynical as the rest of you. I'm sure your reply would be give it time.

I bought a resale that was built in 2005. The home inspection revealed no major defects and a few cracked tiles that I fill with grout from time to time. Looks like standard construction to me. What good is a nail in the truss if the place is under water?

I agree that issues that arise that Pulte is responsible for need to be raised, contested, and resolved and I certainly thank those that were involved in the resolution or partial resolution of the lagoons. I'm not crazy that the POA fee will keep going up but did anyone think it would go down- even with incorporation? I have some AIG stock I'd like to sell those people who answer yes to that. It appears that problems arise between the homeowners and the managing company in every plantation- Rose Hill, Old Carolina and now University Park just to name a few.

So the question here shouldn't be a dare to sing the praises of Pulte. Like it or not we have to deal with them. I just refuse to become like you. I'm in the last third of my life. I've seen enough bitter, older people to know enough that life is better with a positive attitude. That's positive, not rose colored glasses, pie in the sky optimism. Sun City is the best place I have lived and I've only lived in a few other places- that's good enough for me. Most of the people I've met here feel the same way. So, I guess I'm one of the sheeple but I'm nobody's fool.

If I hated it as much as what I read from some of you, I would eat the loss and move."

my response:

“Cynical”?
“Hate”?
“If I hated it as much as what I read from some of you, I would eat the loss and move.”
“I'm nobody's fool.”
“I've seen enough bitter, older people”

“I have some AIG stock I'd like to sell those people”?
“I just refuse to become like you”?
just who’s the one who’s cynical and hateful?

Since I assume that I’m “one of those people” who you’re referring to, I’ll respond for myself. I purchased a new home here in 2004. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but I do expect it to meet the MINIMUM requirements of the building code. I expect the roof to stay on during a 130 mph wind, as the building code requires. I expect the stucco to be mixed and applied according to the minimum (manufacturer’s) specifications, as the building code requires. I expect my roof not to leak. When it does, and FOUR valleys are shingled incorrectly, then I expect ALL FOUR to be fixed and not just the one that leaked first. As a member of this community, I expect lagoons and other infrastructure to be built to the normal standard of care. Anyone who has followed this issue knows that these weren’t. I expect retaining walls not to fall down (a rare occurrence in my experience). I don’t expect to be banned from the community website that I’m, in part, paying for without due cause—foul language, etc.

Having spent 40 years in construction as a professional engineer and land surveyor I have a perspective that many others may not have. I KNOW what’s acceptable and what’s not in construction. Shoddy construction is a NATIONAL problem. Unless we demand that something be done about it, our children and our grandchildren will be dealing with this same problem. WE DON’T “have to deal with it”. But, nothing will de done about it if we don’t speak up.

I’m happy for you that Sun City is the best place that you’ve ever lived. Have a nice day.
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"Go back to where you came from"

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It’s been interesting

I’ve been told to go back to where I came from.
I’ve been told that I have no life.
I’ve been told that I’m not a good Christian.
I’ve been told that I’m unpatriotic.
I’ve been told that I talk too much.
I’ve been told that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I’ve been told that I’m wrong.

It’s a good thing that I’m not defined by what people say about me.

I know what I’m talking about, otherwise I wouldn’t have a degree in engineering. I wouldn’t have been able to meet the qualifications, pass the exam, and get licensed in engineering and land surveying in several states. I wouldn’t have a successful record of 40 years in engineering and construction.
I served in the military. I love my country.
I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember. Part of being a Christian is knowing that you never get it completely right—only Jesus and His mother did.

I have a life--I have an AMAZING wife of 42 years, a wonderful family (that’s my grandson below), and wonderful friends.

Oh, and, you’re welcome—for warning you about your defective roof trusses, for the small part that I played in getting the traffic signal installed at the dangerous intersection just outside our gate, and for the small part that I played in drawing attention to the poorly built stormwater management ponds that you could have got stuck with paying for fixing. Pardon me for looking out for you.

And, excuse me for living.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not going back to where I came from just because you say so.

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get involved, or just "smell the roses"?

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Suppose there’s a dangerous intersection near you—2 people killed in fatal accidents in just three months. Would you get involved, or would you just “smell the roses”?

Suppose you discovered, quite by accident, that the roofs in your community don’t meet the building code, and that there’s a danger that they could come off during a hurricane (suppose you live on the coast). Would you get involved, or would you just “smell the roses”?

Suppose you discovered that the builder of your community cut corners on stormwater management ponds. If the builder gets away with it, you and your community will be left “holding the bag” for the MAJOR costs for fixing the shoddy construction. Would you get involved, or would you just “smell the roses”?


Suppose one of your neighbors, who lives alone and has macular degeneration, comes to you and asks you about the cracks in her stucco, and the corrosion underneath. Would you get involved, or would you just “smell the roses”?

Suppose that the builder of your community rules your community like a tyrant. The builder makes the rules, and changes the rules, at his whim, without regard to the thousands of people who live in your community. Suppose that the builder forces out someone who you’ve elected, in a democratic vote, to represent you. Suppose the builder fires, or forces the resignations, of several people who have volunteered to lead community committees. Would you get involved, or would you just “smell the roses”?

Edmund Burke said: "All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke got involved, and spoke out during the American Revolution. Today we’re a free nation because of people like Edmund Burke.


Mahatma Gandhi said: “A coward is incapable of love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”

There are times to "smell the roses"; and, there are times to get involved.

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Master builder?

Pulte Homes claims that they're master builders. Really?!?

Surf this blog and google the net and judge for yourself. You'll find roof trusses that were barely attached, stucco that was mixed and applied improperly, roofs that leak because roofing paper was cut and nails driven in valleys, retaining walls that collapse, foundation slabs that crack, lagoons (stormwater management ponds) that are poorly built, etc.

Take the lagoons at Sun City Hilton Head, SC for example. Here's what a lagoon built by master builder Pulte looks like:


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We affectionately call this lagoon "the rice paddy". It's supposed to be five feet deep! It looks like the master builder needs a new ruler!

26 of 32 lagoons in this section of Sun City weren't built according to the approved construction plans.

Master builder? I don't think so.
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Who's minding the store?

  • Roof trusses that are barely attached
  • Missing roof bracing
  • A missing roof truss
  • Roofs that leak
  • Cracked foundations
  • Lagoons that are poorly constructed
  • retaining walls that fall down
  • timber bridges that are in "nobody's" jurisdiction
  • Stucco that doesn’t meet minimum building code requirements (too much water; not enough cement)

Who’s minding the store? Nobody is.

In Beaufort County, South Carolina, the Office of Building Code Enforcement re-inspected more than 2,500 houses after it was discovered that they issued occupancy permits for houses where roof trusses were barely attached and were missing roof bracing, and in at least one house, even missing an entire roof truss!

When Pulte's engineer made public statements that Sun City Hilton Head's houses are "robustly constructed", but hadn't inspected said houses, South Carolina's professional engineer review board (SCDLL&R) did nothing about it.

According to a June 12, 2008 Notice of Violation of the Pollution Control Act directed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) against Del Webb Communities Inc. (aka Pulte Homes), beginning on September 6, 2007 citizens filed compaints regarding the condition of (water quality) lagoons at Sun City Hilton Head, SC. It took more than NINE months for DHEC to issue the Notice of Violation. NINE MONTHS! And, AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF, DHEC still hasn't issued a violation order, or ordered Pulte to fix the lagoons. How long does it take to conclude that there’s a problem with lagoons that plans show should be several feet deep, but have birds walking around in the middle? Apparently, A YEAR AND A HALF isn’t long enough for the officials at SCDHEC-OCRM! Coincidentally, on the same day of the Notice, June 12, 2008, the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that four builders, including Pulte Homes, agreed to pay a civil penalties totaling $4.3 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2008/2008-06-12-091.asp http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees/Pulte/Pulte.html What a coincidence!

Who’s minding the (local) store? Nobody is. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?


HOW THIS BLOGSITE WORKS

For the ROOF TRUSS CONNECTION STORY: in "Blog Archive" to the left, click on "2007" or click on an individual topic under 2007. (Ignore the dates--topics are not date dependent.)

For RETAINING WALL FAILURE, ROOF LEAK, COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, AND LAGOONS: in "Blog Archive" to the left, click on on "2008" and "2009".

If you have comments, then go to http://citizensrevoltagainstpulte.blogspot.com/ . Thank you.
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"All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."
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Edmund Burke
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dancing with the devil

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Pulte controls Sun City Hilton Head, SC. They control the Community Association with a Board of Directors that consists of a majority of Pulte employees. Pulte makes the rules, and, if a situation arises where the rules are not to Pulte’s liking, then Pulte changes the rules. Pulte unilaterally makes rules and changes rules without regard to the more than 12,000 residents living in 6,500 homes here.

Pulte controls those who serve on Board-appointed committees, like the Property and Grounds Committee. Pulte controls the committees’ agendas. When a committee “strays” into an area that may threaten Pulte, then Pulte changes the committee’s agenda, or fires them.

When I discovered that Pulte had substituted two nails for a hurricane clip in roof truss connections in this hurricane-prone area, and then didn’t put two nails in many connections (only one nail, or no nail), Pulte wouldn’t talk with me. Neither would the Community Association. Pulte makes the rules.

It’s also been discovered that there are widespread problems with stucco and lagoons (stormwater management ponds) here. Stucco wasn’t mixed and applied properly, and lagoons weren’t built according to the approved construction plans. While plants grow and birds walk around in the middle of these ponds, the P&G Committee says and does nothing as Pulte transfers ownership of the ponds to the residents. It could take millions of dollars to fix these ponds.

Then there is the retaining wall that collapsed, the roofs that leak, untreated stormwater runoff that is being discharged directly into protected wetlands, acres of dead trees, timber bridges, etc. The list goes on and on.

One would think that residents would be represented by elected Neighborhood Representatives. Not so. NRs spread Pulte propaganda to residents under the guise of “Things You Should Know” (TYSK). According to NRs and Pulte, the roof truss connections are OK, the stucco is OK, the lagoons are OK, the wetlands are OK—you name it—it’s all OK. When you question the NRs about this, they say “I’m just following orders.” Wasn’t that what was said at the Nuremburg trials?

You might ask: “Where is Beaufort County (Office of Building Code Enforcement and Office of Stormwater Management)? Where is South Carolina (Department of Health and Environmental Control and Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation)?

It seems that there are many here who dance with the devil.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pulte--master of denial and deception

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the lagoon noose is tightening around Pulte's neck. After THREE YEARS of denial and deception, through the persistent efforts of a relatively small group of homeowners, Pulte is about to find that they have no choice other than to fix their shoddy lagoon construction.

Homeowners first tried to get Pulte to address the problems, then Beaufort County, SC, then DHEC (SC's environmental agency), then the Army Corps of Engineers. nothing. then they launched a "call to action" email campaign to County, State, and Federal representatives.

In the end it's photographs and as-built survey data that proved that Pulte failed to construct the lagoons properly. Pulte, along with all the other co-conspirators, have to accept what the photographs and the survey data show--that there are MAJOR construction problems with the lagoons.

However, despite "the handwriting being on the wall", Pulte continues to deny and deceive. Pulte's construction manager recently said that "aquatic vegetation can grow in 4 feet of water". The next thing that Pulte will be telling us is that the birds in these photographs have 4 ft. long legs!


Pulte treats us (ALL senior citizens) like we were all born at night--LAST night!
Sorry, Pulte, NOT this time!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting away with shoddy construction

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Shoddy construction is everywhere. The internet is full of examples of shoddy construction. Many who have bought homes during the last ten years have personal experience with shoddy construction.

Why do builders continue to get away with shoddy construction? Because they can, and it’s profitable for them to do so.

Inept local, state, and federal government “look the other way”, thanks to millions of dollars in political contributions from the powerful homebuilding lobby.

But, inept government, including those who represent us, is not the REAL reason that builders get away with shoddy construction. The real reason is YOU. Builders get away with shoddy construction because you let them get away with it. Victims of shoddy construction don’t speak out. Why?

* You’re apathetic. There are more important things to do. You don’t have the time. And besides, “I can’t make any difference”.

* You’re afraid. The big, bad builder with their money and lawyers will sue you.

* “It’s not cool.” My neighbors will think that I’m a kook.

* You’re dishonest. Deep down inside you know that you’d cut corners too if it meant more money in your pocket.

As long as you accept the status quo, then we’ll continue to get more of the same--more shoddy construction, more inept government, and more relegating the problem to the “back burner”.

Your children, your grandchildren, and the dishonest, reckless and corrupt builders who are responsible for shoddy construction thank you.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

high quality??

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Recently, Jon Cherry, Division President for Pulte Homes Southeast Division, said: “Pulte Homes/Del Webb takes pride in our reputation in the building industry and our track record of building high quality homes.“

Construction problems with Pulte houses are well documented on this blogsite and on many websites (e.g.,
http://www.hadd.com/respond.php, http://www.suncityblufftonhomedefectclaims.com/index.asp, http://camplemonadestand.com/defectssuncitySC.htm, http://www.justanotherlemon.com/CCFL/pulte.htm, http://www.wral.com/5onyourside/story/3697205/, http://www.poorlybuiltbypulte.info/, etc.).

Bill Pulte, founder and Chairman of Pulte Homes, said in an interview with public radio:

“RYSSDAL: When you go to somebody's house, whether it's for dinner or for some function or an event, what's a sign to you that it's a well-built house?

PULTE: You really can't tell because all you're seeing is the cosmetic finishes, which doesn't really make a good house. That's where a lot of people go wrong. They think that the cosmetic finishes make a good house or the better house. It starts with understanding what the soil the house is going to go on. You must understand what that soil is and secondly you must build the foundation. Third is the framing structure has to be correctly built. Then the correct mechanical system, meaning plumbing and heating; they got to be in correctly, and the wiring has got to be in correctly. The roof is the next important thing, because if you have a bad roof it's going to leak. And then the least important is the cosmetic finishes that you see but it isn't really the important stuff because I could take a good shell and do a miserable job with the finish -- people won't like it as well, or I can take a lousy shell and do a good job with the finish and people love it except when they've lived in it a few years and all of a sudden you've got a lot of problems."


http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/07/28/bill_pulte/


Here’s my reply to Mr. Pulte:

Ah, well, YES, Mr. Pulte, cosmetic finishes don’t make a good house. And, YES, you must understand the soil and the foundation for the house. Or else, the foundation slab may crack, or, worse yet, the house may sink. And, YES, the framing must be built correctly, including putting in bracing and hurricane clips on roof truss connections in a hurricane-prone area. And, YES, a bad roof is going to leak. I can PERSONALLY vouch for this one! This is GREAT advice! Why doesn’t your company follow it?

And, YES, Mr. Pulte, you can take a lousy shell and do a good job with the finish and people love it except when they've lived in it a few years and all of a sudden you've got a lot of problems. And, Mr. Pulte, what would you say about the quality of such a house?




Here's what a County tax examiner had to say about the quality of a Pulte house:

from http://www.justanotherlemon.com/CCFL/pulte.htm

Decision of hearing officer:

"The County valued the subject property at $138,000 for tax year 2008, taking into account $156,030 in repairs to the structure of the home. The home was built in June 2006 for $294,130. Using the cost approach, the County valued the home at $266,730. The home is a conventional ranch home with 2,244 square feet of total living area located in "Model 32 Upscale" on 10,890 square feet of land. The land was valued at $59,090. The County's comparables were located in the subject property's subdivision.

The Taxpayer refuted the County's evaluation based on the severity of problems with the home. The Taxpayer presented repair reports from 4 engineering firms indicating the home was improperly built. Robert J. Chapman, an engineer consultant who holds a B.S. and graduate work in Industrial Technology Management for Manufacturing and Construction, testified the home has experience structural demise and needs to be torn down. He asserted, in his professional opinion, it is impossible to correct the foundation and structural problems. The Tax payer did not dispute the County's valuation of the lot. Mr. Chapman asserted the value of the subject property should take into account the cost of $20,000 to $25,000 for tear down and back fill to prevent a sink hole, but he did not have a report or cost estimate documenting these expenses. Mr. Chapman estimated the value of the subject property (including land) at $30,000.

The Hearing Officer concludes the Taxpayer's testimony and evidence showed the subject property will need a full rebuild. Further, the Hearing Officer cannot use the informal estimates for tear down and back fill. Based on the weight of the evident, the Hearing Officer concludes the value should be the cost of the land only at $59,090. "
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Anthem, Nevada

Judge releases 322 homeowners from class-action plumbing lawsuit
Sun City MacDonald Ranch duplex owners settled for $11.6 million in 2007
Richard Brian

(photo) This faulty Ipex water pipe fitting was taken from a Pulte home in Anthem. The corroded fittings can cause declining water pressure and leaks.

By Jeff Pope
Mon, Dec 15, 2008 (2:33 p.m.)

A District Court judge has agreed to release 322 owners of duplexes in Sun City MacDonald Ranch from a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit regarding faulty plumbing.

The owners had been part of a separate construction defect lawsuit that settled in 2007 in which developer Del Webb Communities Inc., and its 34 subcontractors, paid more than $11.6 million.

read more and check out the photo at http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/dec/15/judge-releases-322-homeowners-class-action-plumbin/
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high quality? I don't think so.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

http://citizensrevoltagainstpulte.blogspot.com/

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a new blogsite for you to post your comments about Pulte:

http://citizensrevoltagainstpulte.blogspot.com/

check it out!
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

No thanks to Pulte

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http://npaper-wehaa.com/bluffton-today;see-aVzmolHVgWCPWa1l#vw-2;page-17;c-107522

Thankful for some things, not for others

Bluffton Today
November 27, 2008
By
Carl Lehmann

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I hope you find many things, events and occasions for which you can say thanks.

As for me, first I say thanks for having survived another year of being cancer-free. My stage 4 colon cancer forced me into retirement in 2002, and thanks to some fabulous surgeons, five surgeries, radiation treatment and fantastic drugs, I survived against all odds. I also say thanks to my family who supported me throughout the ordeal of the first two years of treatment. Of course, they still stand by me, but treatment now is routine, just a checkup every six months.

I am not sure that we should say “thanks” to the letter from Pulte concerning stucco sent to all of us via our neighborhood representatives. I read it very carefully, because I thought that it might lay our concerns to rest. Unfortunately, the letter contains so many inaccuracies that it requires an answer that every resident in Sun City can read. First, a bit of background.

Some years ago Pulte/ Del Webb switched from siding on houses to stucco. Some homeowners noted cracks and other faults.

A law firm from Charleston got involved, hired engineers to inspect homes at no cost to the owners and when problems were found asked them to join a lawsuit.

The lawyers tried to get it certified as a class action lawsuit. The court denied that motion. In its order, the court stated that a class action lawsuit involving a few hundred owners is inappropriate because it might prevent other owners from suing Pulte for defects in trusses or structural components.

Pulte trumpeted that as a great victory. Of course, now they are faced with more than 500 separate legal actions. The first case went to arbitration as required by South Carolina law. The arbitrator recently settled that case by finding that the stucco was defective and ordered Pulte/ Del Webb to pay over $66,000 for the complete removal and reapplication of the stucco.

Hence the letter written by Jon Cherry, Pulte’s vice president in our area who, together with another three Pulte employees, makes up a majority on our board of directors.

Here are just some of the inaccurate and self-serving statements made by Mr. Cherry in his letter.

Cherry: The company has been diligently making any repairs necessary on homes throughout the community.

Fact: One of my neighbors purchased his home in 2003 and notified Pulte almost immediately of stucco problems. It is now 2008 and nothing has been done.

Cherry: We attempted to repair the stucco on the plaintiff/homeowner’s home more than a year ago. The plaintiff/ homeowner refused our offer.

Fact: That was two years after the owner contacted Pulte about the problem.

Cherry: Any monetary award is first applied to lawyers’ fees and their “expert” service fees.


Fact: The award order clearly states that Pulte must pay all legal fees in addition to the award to the homeowner.

Cherry: Plaintiff attorneys block any communications between Pulte/Del Webb and homeowners; essentially not allowing us to perform any routine warranty.

Fact: The only blocked communication pertains to the lawsuit. Routine warranty can continue.

The biggest insult to all the residents is the allegation by Cherry that “justice seems seldom the goal, greed too often the motive …” If Pulte/Del Webb would handle complaints in a responsible manner, no lawsuits would be necessary.


Carl Lehmann is a Sun City resident. You can reach him at Carfle@sc.rr.com
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

"they made their bed and now they have to sleep in it."

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http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/676781.html

Sun City couple awarded $66,000 in faulty stucco case
By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIRO

mshapiro@islandpacket.com
843-706-8142
Published Saturday, November 22, 2008

A court-appointed arbitrator awarded a Sun City Hilton Head couple $66,000 earlier this month from the community's developer, Del Webb, due to improperly installed stucco on the couple's home. Del Webb is a subsidiary of Pulte Homes.


The judgment, issued Nov. 12, also states that legal costs incurred by the couple, Mary and Joe Oros, must be paid by the developer.

"This represents a total victory for the homeowners," said their attorney, Charleston-based John Chakeris, who has filed about 100 more lawsuits related to Sun City stucco issues.

However, Pulte spokesman Jon Cherry called stucco defects on the Oros home an isolated instance. He pointed out that a judge declined in April to hear Sun City stucco cases collectively as a class action suit.

In a letter to residents after the arbitrator's judgment, Cherry wrote that Pulte surveyed more than 2,500 homes to see if there was a pattern of cracked stucco.

"The survey determined that there are no widespread deficiencies in the stucco applications," he wrote.

But Chakeris told Sun City residents in another letter that homeowners with stucco problems who don't take legal action within three years of finding out about them could lose their right to collect damages.

Cherry responded, warning Sun City homeowners of "attorneys and their tactics as they try to create an atmosphere that encourages lawsuits ... with stories of their many and substantial victories."

Cherry also warned that a plethora of stucco suits could have the effect of negatively "impacting resale property values in Sun City Hilton Head."

He also stressed Pulte's reputation as a reputable builder.

"Pulte Homes/Del Webb takes pride in our reputation in the building industry and our track record of building high quality homes," Cherry stated.

Chakeris, however, still was celebrating what he said would be the first of many legal victories. "I'm sure the Pulte people aren't very happy, but they made their bed and now they have to sleep in it."

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Monday, November 17, 2008

"master builder" strikes again!

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http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/670938.html

Pulte fixing foundations on five Sun City homes; fails to get permits

By RENEE DUDLEY
rdudley@islandpacket.com
843-706-8138
Published Monday, November 17, 2008

The Beaufort County Building Codes Department placed a stop-work order on Pulte Homes last week after contractors began massive repairs on five homes in Sun City Hilton Head without first obtaining building permits.


The foundations of those homes -- at 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26 Old Country Roses -- were cracked, Sun City officials and neighbors said.

The five sets of homeowners moved to other houses in Sun City, according to Jon Cherry, Pulte's local general manager. The homes along Old Country Roses are now vacant.

It is unclear if the five homes are owned by Pulte or by the residents who moved out. Cherry also would not elaborate on the costs of the moves, the repairs, the new homes or any arrangements made with the owners.

A company called Ram Jack Foundation Solutions had been repairing the homes for about two weeks before Beaufort County stopped work at the site. Ram Jack lifts the homes and does work that is designed to prevent future dramatic settling, according to the company's Web site.

The Ram Jack project supervisor, who identified himself only as Scott, said at the site Nov. 6, the week before the stop-work order was issued, that Pulte officials told him he was not allowed to discuss the nature of the repairs to the five homes.

Ram Jack recently repaired two other homes -- in addition to the five currently being worked on -- in a different area of Sun City. Cherry said Pulte did not obtain permits for those repairs either. Cherry said he doesn't believe the problem of faulty foundations is widespread.

"The soil is just settling at different times," he said. "I don't know exactly why it happens."


Of the stop-work order, Cherry said, "We didn't think we needed permits to do the repairs."

Larry Fields, plans examiner for the county Building Codes Department, said the application for the permits had not been submitted as of late Friday. Fields said he expects the application early this week.

According to Ram Jack's Web site, most foundation problems are caused by differences in soil moisture and drainage and by poor soil compacting prior to home construction. The five homes along Old Country Roses are beside a lagoon.

A woman who answered the door at one of the five homes Nov. 6 would not comment on the work. She was in the process of moving out.

That day, three construction trucks lined the streets, and piles of soil could be seen outdoors and in the homes' garages.

The other homeowners affected could not be reached for comment.

Neighbors Bill Jones and Mike Vann, who live across the street, said their neighbors told them they were not allowed to discuss either the nature of the repairs or the arrangements for their moves elsewhere in Sun City.

The heavy construction, however, has piqued the interest of curious neighbors, who drive and walk down the street regularly to check on the progress.

"We've got more traffic than Grand Central Station down here since work began," Vann said.


Friday, October 31, 2008

lagoons

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Contrary to their claim as “master builder”, some of Pulte’s construction looks like it came from someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing and are doing it for the first time. Stucco not mixed and applied properly. Roof truss connections with no nails, one nail, nails that miss their target, protruding nails, split wood, etc. Roofing paper cut and nails driven in a valley that result in leaks. Lagoons without embankments.

Lagoons (or stormwater detention (or treatment) ponds, as they are called in the rest of the world) are supposed to be SELF-CONTAINED. That is, stormwater runoff coming into them is supposed to be CONTROLLED (primarily through pipes), and water going out of them is supposed to be CONTROLLED through pipes or spillways in embankments. Only stormwater runoff from new construction enters and leaves CONTROLLED ponds.

Ponds are supposed to have embankments so that they will be SELF-CONTAINED. Section 5.2.4 of the Beaufort County Best Management Practices (for stormwater runoff) Manual states that an embankment for a wet-detention pond should have a 12" freeboard above water surface elevation determined by a 1 in 100 years storm event. Section 5.2.4 of the Beaufort County BMP Manual also states that the top width for a wet-detention pond embankment should be 15 feet, and the side slopes should be 3H:1V. This prevents "piping" or seepage damage.

But, some of the lagoons here, particularly those that abut woods (wetlands, or former timber areas, if you prefer), were built WITHOUT embankments between the lagoons and the woods.
............................................................................................................................................................................................Hence, these lagoons are UNCONTROLLED. Water is flowing into them that shouldn’t be.


Basically, these lagoons without embankments are holes in the ground. The controlling elevation for the water surface elevation in the lagoons is NOT an outflow pipe or a rip rap spillway in an embankment, but rather the undisturbed ground in the woods at the edge of the excavation. (In some cases it appears that rip rap was placed on undisturbed ground on the rim of the hole, but THERE IS NO EMBANKMENT.)

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As a result of having no embankment, water spills out of the hole into the adjacent woods. And conversely, water from the woods flows into the hole over land and through unplugged logging drainage ditches. Not only are lagoons unable to hold the water that they’re supposed to (because they aren’t SELF-CONTAINED AND CONTROLLED, and water flows into and out of the holes in an uncontrolled fashion), but also water is coming into the lagoons that isn’t supposed to be.


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And many lagoons are loaded with silt—imagine that! Having uncontrolled runoff coming into them from the woods doesn’t help that. Put lagoons in the same category as stucco, roof truss connections, leaking roofs, cracked foundations, and who knows what else: FUBAR (an old Navy term).

Where was Pulte, Beaufort County, and DHEC when these lagoons were being built? Where are they and the Property and Grounds Committee now?

Master builder? I don’t think so.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Pulte can't silence me!


August 21, 2008

It appears that I've been banned from our community's website. banned from the community website that my assessment helps pay for. So it goes at Sun City Hilton Head, SC.


When we bought here in 2004 I never imagined the poor construction that I've seen here--roof truss connections that don't meet the building code, defective stucco, my leaking roof (which, like stucco and roof truss connections, isn't an isolated case), cracks, a failed retaining wall,. poorly constructed and maintained lagoons, etc.


Pulte can't silence me! I offer this website as a community service, dedicated to giving others the warning that we never had--about a dishonest, reckless, and arrogant builder, about their shoddy construction, and about how they treat their customers.






Sunday, June 1, 2008

An Engineer's View

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When we bought at Sun City Hilton Head, South Carolina in May 2004, I had no reason to believe other than that Pulte Homes, being a national homebuilder, knows how to build and that they know how to take care of their customers. I also assumed that Beaufort County and the State of South Carolina know construction, and that they know how to take care of their customers too. The last four years have been quite an education.
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Through an engineer’s eyes, this is shocking! This is a roof truss-to-roof truss connection. The building code says that our roofs must withstand a 130 mph wind. How could a competent roof framer walk away from this? How could this have gotten by Pulte’s inspection? How could this have gotten by Beaufort County’s inspections? How could have Beaufort County issued an occupancy permit for this house?

When I saw this, the first thing that I thought was “how many other houses are like this?” I knew that I had to warn my neighbors that they were in danger of losing their roofs in a hurricane. When I tried to talk with Pulte about this, they wouldn’t talk with me, because this isn’t my house (it's my neighbor's). The resident Board of Directors of the Sun City Hilton Head Community Association wouldn’t get involved. Beaufort County did nothing for months. It was only after I went to our local newspaper, The Island Packet, that things started to happen.

Before 2004 Pulte installed hurricane clips at these connections, which are widely used in hurricane-prone areas. They are widely available, and retail for about 50 cents apiece. In 2004 Pulte decided that they’d use two, 3.5-inch long, 16d nails at these connections, instead of hurricane clips, contrary to industry recommendations. (Note that there is only one nail in this connection, and that it doesn't hold anything. THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED CASE! There were MANY connections with one nail, no nails, nails that missed their target, nails that were too short, split wood, etc.) Prior to 2004 construction drawings for SCHH houses included a Truswal drawing that showed hurricane clips at these connections. In 2004, that drawing disappeared from the drawing set.

As a result of The Island Packet’s stories, more than 2,500 homes here were re-inspected. But, instead of installing hurricane clips, Pulte and Beaufort County decided that wood screws would be good enough. As a civil engineer, I find this appalling. More surprises followed.

I learned that there is a widespread stucco problem here. Much of it doesn’t meet minimum manufacturer requirements (mixed with too much water, not enough cement), and therefore, doesn’t meet minimum building code requirements. Again, where was Pulte when this stucco was being mixed? Where was Beaufort County? (for more information, see
http://www.suncityblufftonhomedefectclaims.com/index.asp)

Then there’s this:

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This is my roof. How could this not leak? The roofing paper is cut and nails are driven in the valley. Again, where was Pulte when this, and others like it, were being built? How is it that Pulte hires subcontractors that don’t know the basics? While this was happening in many roofs here, where was Beaufort County?

Then, there are stormwater detention, or water quality treatment, ponds, or “lagoons”, as they call them here. During my career I designed many of them. I know how they’re supposed to look and work. But, some here don’t look right. There’s no freeboard or defined spillway. Water runs out of them over long stretches. Some are full of silt. Pulte won’t address the problem. Neither will Beaufort County or the State. Sound familiar?

Then, there are the wetlands that the stormwater detention ponds discharge into. Several acres of trees in the wetland just to the east of the Hidden Cypress Center are dead. Inlets taking untreated runoff from the Hidden Cypress parking lot discharge directly into this wetland. Where is/was Beaufort County? Where is/was the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control (DHEC)?


For this civil engineer, the education that I’ve received over the past years about Pulte, Beaufort County, and the State of South Carolina has been both alarming and sad.
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stucco lawsuits, Sun City Hilton Head, SC

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September 3, 2008

On September 3, 2008, Pulte, Del Webb Communities, and South Carolina State Plastering, LLC, were named in 87 separate law suits filed in Beaufort County, SC by attorneys representing homeowners in Sun City Hilton Head. This is the first round of individual law suits brought against the developer and builder of Sun City Hilton Head after the Court ruled that the stucco case against the Developer cannot be handled as a class action lawsuit. It is expected that more individual lawsuits will be filed.

Estimates for removing and reapplying the stucco average $40,000 per house. For more information see http://www.suncityblufftonhomedefectclaims.com/index.asp

Following is from "Homeowner Stucco Defects Power Point Presentation", which can be found in the “Important Documents” folder:

QUOTE

Plaintiff’s Attorney
Q. …pursuant to South Carolina law, how long is the case going to be stayed?

Attorney for Pulte
A. Most likely indefinitely. These are all homeowners that have to be over 55 to live there. By the time all 4,000 comply, which they probably never will, half of them will already be dead.


Pulte has acknowledged, in sworn testimony, that:
• It did not employ the services of a design professional for the design of the stucco systems at issue.
• It has no knowledge of how to install a proper stucco control joint.
• There was no supervision of the stucco subcontractor with regard to proper stucco application.
• Following this lawsuit, Pulte began in July 2007 utilizing stucco control joints at the corners of windows and doors in its new construction across U.S. Hwy 278.


Sisnroy Engineering Report
Cracking in Stucco

“Eventually 100% of the homes will exhibit cracking due to excessive stress from improper stucco installation.”

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

senior citizens, veterans. it doesn't make any difference to Pulte

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How to Prevent New Home Defects
Buyers should take care that they're not purchasing an inferior-quality house
June Fletcher, The Wall Street Journal
Oct.2, 2008

As the downturn deepens, many would-be homeowners are taking advantage of down payment and closing cost assistance, free finished basements and other incentives offered by builders eager to move their merchandise.

But buyers should take care that they're not purchasing an inferior-quality house.

For the month of August, the producer price index for construction materials rose 13% over the same period a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As costs rise, some builders cut corners. The Consumer Federation of America says construction tops its list of the five fastest-growing complaint categories.

Bruce Barker, a Phoenix home inspector, says almost all the new houses he sees have minimum-quality windows, and about three-quarters have inadequate loose fill or fiberglass insulation; other houses he's inspected have brand-name condensers on the exterior of the home, where buyers can see them, connected to generic furnaces hidden in the attic. Steve Showalter, a Graysonville, Md. inspector, says builders have stopped using plywood sheathing and instead use oriented strand board, which can swell with moisture unless it's installed correctly—and it rarely is, he says. Rob Ringen, a Sonora, Calif. home inspector, estimates that 80% of the repair work that new home owners have to do today can be traced directly to poor-quality materials like twisted and split framing, and short-cuts on installation, like missing flashing over windows that allows rain to leak in. And since building code inspectors are being laid off in the downturn, and remaining ones overworked, such problems often slip by. "Homeowners get it right in the neck," says Mr. Ringen.

Since new home contracts often have binding arbitration clauses, many disgruntled buyers can't sue—although some have taken creative steps to embarrass builders they think have cheated them. Cynthia and John Daugherty posed as orange-jumpsuited "prisoners" on
the Web site they made about their Pulte-built Kansas home, listing complaints about bad foundation walls and bouncy floors. Crapconstruction.com, with a logo of a home swirling down the toilet, was created for Beazer Home buyers complaining about buckling hardwood floors, chipped tiles and cracked caulk.

Although builders have been known to sue or buy out people who start complaint sites, it's far less stressful to prevent such problems in the first place. While visiting the house often during the construction period can uncover some problems, most homeowners don't have the expertise to check for every defect in construction and materials. That's why it's essential to turn to professionals to look after your interests. Before you sign a contract, have your attorney read it to make sure your rights to legal redress for defects are protected. Before you close, make sure to hire a home inspector, preferably one with an engineering background, to ensure that no one took any shortcuts.

Also, take time to read and understand whatever warranties the builder offers. The warranty will likely exclude certain items like appliances and cracks from normal settling of the house, and may limit the amount of time you have to file a claim for damages or defects. This time period may be shorter than the time state law provides for filing a lawsuit under the principle of "implied warranty," so the builder may demand that you sign a paper waiving these rights. This is in the builder's interest, but not yours. Don't do it.

Write to June Fletcher at june.fletcher@wsj.com

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

US EPA and Pulte Homes

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http://epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/cwa/pultehomes-infosht.html

On June 11, 2008, the United States lodged a settlement between the United States, Pulte Homes, and the States of Maryland, Tennessee, Colorado, and Nevada, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Pulte Homes was ranked the third largest home builder in the country in 2006 and the fourth largest builder in 2007 in terms of home closings and revenues.

EPA conducted inspections and gathered information for Pulte Homes construction sites located throughout the country.

The types and severity of alleged violations vary for each site but generally include:

  • discharge of polluted storm water to storm sewers or waterways without obtaining an NPDES permit;
  • failure to develop an adequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for minimizing the amount of sediment and other pollutants in storm water runoff from the sites;

  • failure to install or implement appropriate storm water controls or best management practices (BMPs) required by the SWPPP (for example: silt fences were not installed in all required areas; BMPs to prevent sediment from entering storm drains were not installed; no BMPs were installed at construction entrances to prevent offsite trackout of dirt; concrete washout basins were not installed to prevent concrete from flowing into storm drains; portable toilets were located directly on top of storm drain inlets without BMPs to prevent spills from entering the storm drain);
  • incorrect installation of BMPs (for example: silt fences were not properly trenched in; sediment ponds were not completed prior to commencing site grading);
  • failure to keep BMPs in effective operating condition (for example: silt fences and storm drain inlet protections were full of sediment and no longer effective; silt fences had fallen down or had holes; construction entrances needed additional rock);

  • failure to adequately or routinely inspect BMPs to ensure proper operation and maintenance.
    Pulte Homes has agreed to a settlement with the United States and the States of Maryland, Tennessee, Colorado, and Nevada, and the Commonwealth of Virginia to resolve these alleged violations.
Under this settlement, Pulte Homes will pay a civil penalty of $877,000, implement a Supplemental Environmental Project costing a minimum of $608,000, and implement a management and reporting system designed to provide increased oversight of on-the-ground operations and ensure greater compliance with the storm water requirements.

Specific measures include:

  • establishment of three management tiers that will be responsible for storm water compliance within the company, including the designation of trained, qualified staff at every construction site;
    a requirement to follow specified criteria for guidance in developing site-specific SWPPPs for every site;

  • a requirement to conduct pre-construction inspections and quarterly oversight inspections and reviews at all sites in addition to the routine inspections required by NPDES permits;
    a requirement to use EPA-approved forms for pre-construction inspections, routine inspections, and quarterly inspections and reviews; and,
  • a requirement to implement storm water training programs for storm water managers and builder employees, and storm water orientation programs for storm water consultants and contractors.

The Supplemental Environmental Project is designed to reduce sediment in storm water runoff in a northern California watershed in Mendocino County.


The State co-plaintiffs will receive a portion of the penalty based on the number of Pulte Homes sites within each State. The states will receive the following amounts:

  • Virginia: $12,000
  • Maryland: $21,000
  • Tennessee: $ 7,000
  • Colorado: $14,000
  • Nevada: $47,000

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

lagoons


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http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/57836.html

http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/96120.html

The community has a Property & Grounds Committee that inspects and monitors all landscaping, utility and mechanical systems as well as buildings located on common areas in the Sun City Community. They are also responsible for the inspection of property and grounds pre-transfer from the Developer, to include a recommendation on the status of applicable assets to the Board and Executive Director of the Community Association.

Questions for the P&G committee:

1. Are underground pipes connecting the lagoons clogged with silt? Hint: run a camera thru them--that will tell. this service has been available for years.

2. Is it possible to achieve normal water level as shown on the plans in all lagoons, or are some of them constructed so water runs out the perimeter before water reaches the normal water level shown on the plans? Hint: take elevations--nothing new here. Picture a bowl. You want water in the bowl to be at elevation 15.0. but, if the rim of the bowl is at elevation 14.5, then, needless to say, you'll never get water in the bowl to elevation 15.0.

3. Should the lagoons have freeboard (perimeter elevations that are one foot or more above the normal water level (elevation)? This may take a little research--what is local accepted practice? what is universal "good practice"?

I'll keep you posted.
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April 25, 2008
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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is responsible for regulating water quality. On April 23, using the "Contact Us" feature on DHEC's website, I sent them the following:
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April 23, 2008

Via “contact us” on DHEC’s website
(
http://www.scdhec.net/) :

I am a retired civil engineer living in Sun City Hilton Head. After an October 19, 2007 article in The Island Packet
(
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/57836.html) I contacted Rick McCollough and we surveyed a few lagoons in Sun City. We found: (1) elevations taken on the rims of two lagoons are 0.5 feet lower than the normal water elevations shown on the plans (2) huge amounts of silt clogging several lagoons and pipes connecting them.

My questions are:
1. Is DHEC aware that some lagoons in Sun City Hilton Head are not built according to plans?
2. Is DHEC aware that some lagoons in Sun City are filled with silt?
3. Is DHEC aware that some pipes connecting lagoons in Sun City either do not exist or are clogged with silt and nonfunctional?
4. What does DHEC intend to do about these lagoons, if anything?

As a resident of SCHH I am very concerned that we residents will be stuck with huge costs for dredging and fixing these lagoons and for correcting design and/or construction deficiencies when these costs should rightfully be borne by the developer, Pulte Homes.

I look forward to your contacting me with responses to my questions.

Sincerely,
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I haven't heard back from DHEC. I'll keep you posted.
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June 16, 2008
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STILL NO ANSWERS!
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Before you know it, it'll be a year!
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This really IS "the SLOW country"!
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June 19, 2008
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Finally, some action!
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Troubled waters: Are Sun City's lagoons polluted?
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By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIROmshapiro@islandpacket.com843-706-8142
Published Thursday, June 19, 2008
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The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control alleges that Pulte Homes, the developer of Sun City Hilton Head, is in violation of state pollution laws because of the condition of several lagoons in the community.

A Pulte official said Wednesday the company does not agree with the findings, but says it wants to cooperate with the state agency. Jon Cherry, a Pulte Homes spokesman, did not provide details of how that would work.

DHEC sent a letter to Pulte stating lagoons in the Aster Fields, Murray Hill and Basket Walk neighborhoods were built or maintained in ways that don't comply with state environmental laws. Pulte received the letter Wednesday.

According to the letter, DHEC staffers examined complaints from Sun City residents on four separate occasions between September 2007 and April 2008.

In the letter, DHEC says it found that:
• Eight lagoons were not built according to plans approved by the agency.
• Drains in two lagoons were not being properly maintained.
• Water from a wetland was flowing into two lagoons.
• Sediment was building up in two lagoons.

The letter also calls for a June 26 "enforcement conference" in Columbia between DHEC and Pulte.

Cherry said the company has been working with DHEC, and although it disagrees with the allegations, the company will attend the conference and continue to work toward a solution.
"We're going to do the right thing," he said. "There's some kind of conference they want us to go to, and we'll go there and work through it."

A DHEC spokeswoman said the agency doesn't comment on ongoing enforcement proceedings or possible penalties, but she did describe the enforcement process.

"Our goal is for the regulations and statutes of the state to be enforced in a way that protects the environment and the health of the public. So what we will do is offer any number of ways that a company can go to get back in compliance," said Clair Boatwright.

If DHEC and a company can't reach an agreement, Boatwright said alleged violations are taken up in court.

She said an initial conference, like the one Pulte plans to attend, is generally an opportunity to get a company's side of the story.

"They may have a viewpoint that we haven't seen," she said. "If we get a report that says somebody hasn't done something, but they have proof that they've done it, it can end right there."

The conference will be closed to the public, according to DHEC.

LAGOONS
Lagoons are common features in developments throughout Beaufort County. They are designed to filter rainstorm runoff andare often advertised to potential home buyers as picturesque amenities.
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June 23, 2008
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a NATIONAL problem.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another Beaufort County screw-up in Pulte's favor

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http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/580670.html

Work at Sun City was not approved by county
By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIRO

mshapiro@islandpacket.com
843-706-8142
Published Sunday, August 17, 2008

Three construction projects done at Sun City Hilton Head weren’t formally approved by Beaufort County until long after they were completed, cutting out any chance for public input.


An expansion of the parking lot at the Hidden Cypress golf course was completed in mid-2006 and a second project to end a road as a cul-de-sac was finished last November, according to Pulte Homes, Sun City’s developer. A third project to change the design of the Pinckney Hall parking lot to add handicapped spots and save trees was finished in late spring, according to several Sun City residents.

The county’s Development Review Team approved the three projects July 2.

Asked about the projects, Pulte division president Jon Cherry said in an e-mail that Pulte had a discussion with county officials and it was agreed that the company would go ahead with its projects and then go to the county’s Development Review Team.

But county officials say that’s not what should have happened.

“We don’t want people to do things and ask for permission afterward,” said county planning director Tony Criscitiello, a member of the development panel.

“The Brown’s Bluff property is an example of what happens,” Criscitiello added, referring to an instance where a Bluffton property owner began putting in a riprap wall — an erosion control measure — on his property without a county permit.

Unlike that situation, however, Criscitiello said the county chose not to penalize Pulte.


“It was relatively minor, so the position of the county was not as dramatically opposed to what happened,” he said.

Nevertheless, county administrator Gary Kubic said he wants to know how Pulte was allowed to move forward on projects without permits.

“No one is exempt from the permitting process,” he said. Sun City resident Steve Grossberg also has questions.

“I’ve never seen anywhere where things are built, and then an approval meeting is held,” said Grossberg, who works for a construction and design consulting firm.

Grossberg, who lives near the Hidden Cypress parking lot that was expanded, said he and several of his neighbors were upset because a road in front of the golf course clubhouse that many residents used regularly was closed to accommodate the change.

Residents were informed about the project, Grossberg said, “but everybody here thought it was being done in a legal manner — until I pointed out that it wasn’t.”

In May, Grossberg wrote to Kubic and to zoning and planning officials, pointing out the change to the road. Grossberg said he was not aware of any public meeting at which the road change was approved.

He said he was upset because the parking lot expansion added to the distance he and his neighbors had to travel every time they went in and out of the community’s gates.

Estimating that 500 homes were affected by the change, Grossberg said, “When you think about how much energy’s wasted today, somebody should have asked, ‘Does it make sense to do that?’ That’s what government bodies are supposed to do.”

A Pulte representative said the re-routing of traffic would increase public safety by taking high-speed traffic out of several residential areas and would add to the longevity of Sun City’s road system.

But Grossberg said he should have had a chance to voice his opinion.

“The standard of operation is build it, then come to the county with what they’ve built, and that doesn’t leave any opportunity for a review process or for public comment,” he said.



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Local issues

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Beaufort County, SC District 10 voters!
Here are some things to consider at election time:

1. I told our councilman, Jerry Stewart, about the defective roof truss connections in Sun City LONG before The Island Packet ran their stories. Why didn't Councilman Stewart follow up on my warnings, and warn YOU?

2. Arthur Cummings, Director of Beaufort County's Office of Building Code Enforcement, made false and misleading statements to the public. He was quoted in Bluffton Today as saying "a FEW bad roof truss connections" had been found, and he was quoted in The Island Packet as saying that "only 2% of the re-inspected houses needed repairs".

3. It's on Arthur Cummings "watch" that roof truss connections were not properly inspected in the first place.

4. In October 2007 Gary Kubic, Beaufort County Administrator, promised a final report on the Sun City roof truss connection problem. Arthur Cummings' answer in July 2008 is a short, two-paragraph email to The Island Packet in which he says that "only 2% of the re-inspected houses needed repairs".

Will the REAL story of the deficient roof truss connections and missing roof bracing EVER be told? Will citizens EVER get the REAL information on the County Building Code Enforcement Office's ineptness in their initial inspections, AND RE-INSPECTIONS, of our houses? Will the public ever be told that hurricane clips should be installed as these connections? Mr. Cummings? Mr. Kubic? Mr. Stewart?

5. Also in October 2007 Gary Kubic promised that an independent firm would evaluate the County Office of Building Code Enforcement for the purpose of "restoring public confidence." Only after another Island Packet story TEN MONTHS LATER, has Arthur Cummings FINALLY turned over the NEEDED records to the independent reviewer. Will the evaluation be made public? Mr. Stewart, Mr. Kubic and Mr. Cummings, IT IS YOUR DUTY NOT INTERFERE WITH THE FIRM'S EVALUATION, AND TO MAKE THIS REPORT PUBLIC.

6. A recent article in The Island Packet revealed that not all designated houses in Sun City have been re-inspected. This is more than one and one half YEARS after the County was notified of the roof truss connection problem. This is our SECOND hurricane season after the problem was discovered, and this hurricane season is VERY active.

7. Gary Kubic has failed to answer my direct questions as to what agency is responsible for assuring that retaining walls and timber bridges in private housing developments in Beaufort County are properly designed and inspected.

8. Some lagoons (ponds) in Sun City are full of silt. Trees in wetlands are dead and dying. What have Jerry Stewart and Gary Kubic done to get Pulte Homes, developer of Sun City and currently in-charge, to address these problems?