Saturday, July 24, 2010

arrogance = Pulte/Wentworth fights residents

Sunnyside Up for July 22, 2010

Does it sometimes seem the world is upside down?

That is the case in a dispute between residents at the cul-de-sac end of Coburn Drive East and the Sun City Administration. The gist of the dispute is access from the maintenance yard to the cul-de-sac. The original plans as permitted by the county showed that permanent access to Sun City would be provided through the existing paved path leading to the golf cart path near the 14th fairway. A berm would be installed to block access to Coburn Drive. Del Webb applied for and received a temporary permit to access Coburn by leaving a portion of the berm at the cul-de-sac open. Once construction access was no longer needed, the berm would be completed. The latter was never done. Instead, the company constructed a road and eventually a gate to provide access. What they failed to do was get the necessary permits for this change in plans from the county.

The continued access quickly became a thorn in the side of the residents. All the maintenance equipment now rolled through what should have been a quiet neighborhood, but nobody was at the gate to prevent unauthorized contractor vehicles from entering. Eventually that gate was locked and things quieted down.

Then a new management company and a new Executive Director arrived. The maintenance folks convinced the executive director that access from the yard via SC 170 to Sun City was dangerous. Why it was more dangerous for employees to use SC 170 than it was for residents exiting thru the Del Webb Blvd gate is a mystery. The maintenance department offered a simple solution. Re-open the gate and allow all maintenance vehicles to get into Sun City without going out on SC 170. The residents protested and the fight was on.

The property owners submitted paperwork to the administration making their case that this access was illegal and unauthorized. They pointed out that their property values dropped considerably because the gate was there but all to no avail. Instead, the administration hired a lawyer to deal with the problem. Just consider, our administration wasted our money to pay a lawyer to fight residents with a legitimate complaint.

One of the residents also hired a lawyer and eventually paid thousands of dollars to answer the administration lawyer’s efforts to keep that gate open. Did the residents have a legitimate claim? All the paperwork said so. The county advised the administration that for every day the gate was open a fine would be issued.

Did the administration quit? Not by a long shot. They decided instead to file for a permit to make this access legal. Of course, this involved more work for their lawyer, more money out of your and my pockets.

Even correspondence from the county zoning office pointing out that the access was illegal and that residents would have to agree to a change failed to make an impression. Where does this issue stand today?

The gate remains locked. I don’t think that Pulte, and they are the successor to Del Webb, will ever construct the berm required by the original plans. The residents on Coburn Drive are out thousands of dollars for legal fees. The real irony is that these good people not only had to pay for their own lawyer but also paid for the opposing lawyer through their association fees.

It does seem that the world is upside down.

Carl Lehmann is a resident of SCHH who writes a weekly column for Bluffton Today.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Court of Public Opinion

The Court of Public Opinion decides MANY matters. Unlike traditional court, in the CPO, "innocent until proven guilty", "beyond a reasonable doubt", “inadmissible evidence”, etc. don’t apply. Matters are decided based on history, experiences, impressions, etc.

Pulte Group (aka Pulte Homes, Del Webb, and Centex) and community manager Wentworth (with STRONG business ties to Pulte) have records of shoddy construction and shabby treatment of their customers. Any company, or community association, including the SCHH CA, with poor records that operate in secrecy, with gag agreements, loyalty oaths, propaganda, censorship, etc., can be expected to be viewed poorly in the CPO.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dishonest, reckless, and arrogant Pulte Homes

Building code violations/roof truss connections and bracing
The building code rightfully classifies this area as the highest susceptible to hurricane damage. Houses must be designed to withstand a 130 mph wind. Pulte (on paper) substituted 2 nails for a hurricane clip in roof truss connections; but, in MANY houses MORE THAN HALF of the roof truss connections had less than 2 nails, short nails, nails that missed their target, nails in split wood, etc.

Pulte denied repeatedly that there was anything wrong with the roof truss connections. In 2007 more than 2,700 houses built between 2004 and 2007 were re-inspected; 668 needed repairs.


Building code violations/ stucco
Pulte continues to deny that there are widespread problems with stucco here. Look around. How many stucco problems have you observed? Is this just "the tip of the iceberg"? A recent story in The Island Packet tells of mold infestation because of defective stucco. It tells of a home inspector who, using infrared photography, has found excessive moisture between exterior and interior walls in several houses. The single case that has been arbitrated resulted in damages IN FULL being awarded to the homeowner.

The building code requires that building materials be mixed and applied according to manufacturer specifications. Tests ORDERED BY PULTE HOMES of samples taken from several houses here showed too much water and not enough cement. The homeowner’s attorney and their expert believe that stucco in MANY houses here was mixed and applied improperly. Derek Morgan in a “to whom it may concern” letter states that stucco weep screeds "ARE NOT FOR DRAINAGE". This is NOT TRUE.


Phase 5 lagoons
In 2005 Phase 5 residents began contacting Pulte Homes about problems with Phase 5 lagoons. Pulte steadfastly denied that there were any problems with the lagoons. As-built plans show that tops of lagoons were built as much as 2+ feet too low. In late 2008, as a result of YEARS of hard work and persistence by a few homeowners in the Aster Fields neighborhood, Pulte agreed to fix SOME of the problems. When lagoons were drained, large areas were exposed that had been excavated to only one foot deep, while the approved construction plans called for the lagoons to be 5 feet deep.


There are other examples of shoddy construction here.

As homeowners, are these Things that You Should Know (TYSK)? You won’t see them in a CA TYSK email, read about them in Sunsations, or hear about them from your CA, NR, or on SCHH TV.

Who represents YOU, the homeowner?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Declaration of Independence

Today, as we celebrate the 234th anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence from tyranny, I honor and renew this declaration.

1. I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, and to the government for which it stands. I reject tyranny by ANY other power, foreign or domestic, public or private.

2. I object to being governed by private company Pulte Homes and its minions: Wentworth, SCHH CA, Board-appointed committees, NRC, etc.

3. I embrace free speech, objectivity, and integrity.

4. I reject propaganda. Accordingly, I have unsubscribed from TYSK emails. As long as they continue to lack objectivity and to be censored, I will not watch SCHH TV or read Sunsations.

5. I embrace presenting issues that are important to the community without censorship or interference from Pulte, Wentworth, SCHH CA, Board-appointed committees, NRC, etc. I embrace presenting contrasting points of view.

6. I would rather see 3 empty seats on the CA BOD than resident representatives who sign loyalty oaths to the Pulte-controlled BOD.

7. I reject the NRC and Board-appointed committees that lack objectivity or are censored.

8. I pledge to continue to exercise my right to free speech to speak out against tyranny, deceit, shoddy construction, shabby treatment, etc.

9. I pledge to continue to speak out against any person, group, organization, or company that unduly interferes with my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

10. I pledge to exercise my independence in honor of those before me who secured it through their blood and sacrifices.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

da Nile?

Pulte, Beaufort County, DHEC, SCHH CA, SCHH TV, Sunsations, NRs, resident CA BODs, Board-appointed committees, MANY residents, etc. would have us believe that there is nothing wrong with roof truss connections, roof bracing, stucco, lagoons, etc. The facts—photographs, newspaper articles, licensed home inspectors, lawyers, engineers, your own eyes, etc.—tell you otherwise. Who do you believe? Are you in da Nile?

Pulte, Beaufort County, SCHH CA, NRs, resident CA BODs, Board-appointed committees, MANY residents, etc. would have us believe that there was nothing wrong with the roof truss connections in the houses built between 2004 and 2007. 668 houses of the 2,700+ that were reinspected that needed repairs tell otherwise. The licensed home inspectors that were STILL finding problems with roof truss connections and roof bracing in houses built in 2008 and 2009 tell us otherwise. Joy Logan receives an award and the Beaufort County Office of Building Code Enforcement receives accreditation. Who do you believe? Are you in da Nile?

Pulte, DHEC, SCHH CA, NRs, resident CA BODs, Board-appointed committees, MANY residents, etc. would have us believe that there was nothing wrong with the Phase 5 lagoons, but, when the lagoons were drained, large areas that approved plans said were supposed to be excavated 5 feet deep were excavated only 1 ft. deep. Who do you believe? Are you in da Nile?

Pulte, SCHH CA, NRs, resident CA BODs, Board-appointed committees, MANY residents, etc. would have us believe that that weep screeds are NOT FOR DRAINAGE. They would have us believe that there aren’t widespread problems with stucco here; but, photographs, newspaper articles, licensed home inspectors, lawyers, engineers, and your own eyes tell you otherwise. Who do you believe? Are you in da Nile?

But, there may be hope for SCHH. There are more and more second generation homeowners who are getting licensed home inspectors to inspect their houses before they buy. Who do they believe? Their licensed home inspector. Are they in da Nile? NO!

As time goes on more and more original homebuyers will be replaced by second generation home buyers. That’s good. No more da Nile.

Look for changes (slowly, but surely) in SCHH CA, SCHH TV, Sunsations, NRs, resident CA BODs, and Board-appointed committees as more and more second generation homebuyers replace original homebuyers at SCHH. Look for good changes at SCHH that will come with them.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

"stuck on stupid"

During Hurricane Katrina Louisiana National Guard General Russel Honore said several times in TV interviews that the media and certain government officials were "stuck on stupid".

You got that right, General--there are a LOT of people who are "stuck on stupid".

"Stuck on stupid" = faced with OVERWHELMING evidence of shoddy construction—photographs, newspaper articles, internet, licensed home inspectors, lawyers, engineers, your lying eyes, etc.—STILL believing that the construction isn’t shoddy.