The following article appeared 7/24/08 in Bluffton Today (pg. 11).
Carl Lehmann is a Sun City resident. You can reach him at Carfle@sc.rr.com
You say you want a revolution
Recently a Vox caller opined that the reason for my support for incorporation was that I wanted to be “Emperor of Sun City.” For a moment I wondered whether I could put the crown on my head myself like Napoleon did.
It turns out that it is too late for me to become emperor. Pulte has obviously taken that job. They rule by decree with out consultation with the board or any other resident group. They issue fiats that are not in the interest of the residents and assume the right to fire board of director members for the most nefarious reasons. At least that is the impression one gets from the latest revision to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and the bylaws for Sun City.
First, let me say that Pulte apparently has every legal right to do what they did. Secondly, I think it is a power grab of unprecedented pro portion which will hurt the community and allow Pulte to run Sun City as a private fiefdom without regard to the welfare of the 12,000 people who live here.
On July 14, Pulte filed the fifth amendment to the CC&Rs decreeing that Pulte will control Sun City until 100 percent of all homes are sold and conveyed to their new owners.
Pulte changed the bylaws and decreed that the developer would have the right to appoint five directors until 100 percent of all homes were conveyed. Previously, control of the board was to go to the residents as soon as 90 percent of all homes were sold. If we thought we already were entitled to three directors’ posts, we were sadly mistaken. Even though we elected three residents, we are only entitled to have two directors. The third director ship is loaned to us by Pulte and can be taken away by Pulte just as they took two resident directors away in January.
Pulte also changed the bylaws to make the earlier removal of two elected resident directors legal. The latest amendment will also permit the removal of a director for along list of new violations, among them releasing information not authorized for release by the board.
Finally, Pulte decided that the residents did not need to be informed of these major changes.
Why is Pulte changing the conveyed home formula from 90 percent to 100 percent? What else but money? Under the 90 percent formula, Pulte would have to pay full assessments for any remaining lots. Using current sales of 300 per year and assessment figures, it could cost Pulte as much as $2.6 million. Using the 100 percent formula allows Pulte to subsidize our budget if there is a deficit instead of paying an assessment for each lot. I am sure the Pulte-con trolled board will not allow a deficit to develop but will instead hike assessments. As the chairman of the Finance Committee suggested, a 10 percent rise is within the possibilities.
What can we do? Here are some ideas. Our three resident board members could resign immediately and no resident should be willing to serve on the board. All board appointed committees could cease their work. Finally, we could get a permit and picket Pulte at the main entrance to Sun City. That will really help them sell homes.
Check out: http://www.incorporatesuncity.com
Here’s an excerpt from the “Forum” section:
And finally, I read that there are issues with some lagoons as well as other infrastructure in SC that still belongs to the developer. Will incorporation result in taking over the liability for fixing any of that type of issue?
That is a very, very good question, and I want everyone to hear the answer to this one. Pulte has just been fined $28,800 for violation of the environmental laws relative to one pond and another is being pursued at the present time. According to Thomas and Hutton, the engineers for Pulte, once they turn over the lagoons to Sun City, it becomes Sun City's problem to take care of them, but because they didn't build them, there is no liability attached. I wanted a second opinion on that one and have asked D-HEC for clarification. In any event, if there is a continuing liability, then Pulte isn't going to turn them over until we (in Sun City) are satisfied.
Whether or not you agree that we should incorporate, the CISCA initiative sends a message.
Some of us object to being governed for more than a decade by developers. After all, we’re more than 10,000 people in 6,500 houses.
We object to Pulte’s coup de tat replacing our residents with their employees and changing the BOD from resident majority to Pulte majority.
We object to Pulte’s decision to stop installing hurricane clips in roof truss connections in 2004 and we object to their not installing them in more than 2,000 houses built between 2004 and early 2007.
We object to lagoons that are not maintained properly, and perhaps not constructed properly. We don’t want to be stuck with large costs for bringing these lagoons up to snuff. Properly constructed and maintained lagoons are Pulte’s responsibility until they are finished building and we "take over the keys".
We object to being sold houses with stucco that wasn’t mixed properly, and, as a result, raises serious questions about cracks and leakage and mold and rot.
There are other issues as well.
I personally plan on signing the petition. I want to join the “seven” in sending the message. I hope that others will do so as well, even if they decide to vote “no” when it’s time to vote to incorporate.