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ABC Special Report
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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

Deceptive Builders?
Monday, 29 November 2004
Street's future spurs rift
Resident says he wasn't told road in community would be major artery
...Little Elm subdivision at Eldorado Parkway and FM423 also has a major four-lane road running through it that will eventually connect Interstate 35 to the future Dallas North Tollway extension in Frisco.    DreesSucks.net

                               

Resident says he wasn't told road in community would be major artery
 

Dallas Morning News
                                                                                                                   
Kevin Krause                                                                                                                          
 
Eldorado Estates West, with its Olympic-size pool, playgrounds and greenbelts, is listed in advertisements as a "community that really has it all."

But the fledgling Little Elm subdivision at Eldorado Parkway and FM423 also has a major four-lane road running through it that will eventually connect Interstate 35 to the future Dallas North Tollway extension in Frisco.

And the road, which is projected to carry more than 40,000 cars daily once the Lewisville Lake bridge is built, is at the heart of a growing rift among residents there.

One disgruntled resident has complained that he and others were not told the truth about the road's purpose when they bought their homes. Others say publicity over the dispute is harming their property values.

Town officials say they're staying out of it.

Andrew Ellender has formed a residents' committee and issued news releases. The 39-year-old engineer says he plans to keep picketing at undisclosed dates and times until builders sit down with him.

"When I asked about the road, they told me it was an access road only to be used by school buses and neighbors," said Mr. Ellender, who bought his $206,000 home adjacent to the road last year. "The builders and the town are completely ignoring us. We have to stand in the street."

David Harbin, division president of Drees Homes, declined to comment on the dispute. But he said he believes his sales agent did not lie to Mr. Ellender about the road.

"If he was lying to customers, I'd hear about it," he said.

With more than 150 homes, the community is about 90 percent sold. Drees is one of at least three builders selling homes in the subdivision.

Mr. Ellender said builders are continuing to sell homes without telling buyers that the road will become a major six-lane thoroughfare. "Ninety-nine percent of the people did not know about this highway," he said.

But other residents are starting to come forward with complaints about Mr. Ellender. They say that he does not represent them and that his publicity stunts are hurting their property values.

David Smith, who says he speaks for many other residents, said the dispute is a private matter between Mr. Ellender and the builder.

"He's trying to push a personal agenda. If you've got a case, take it to court," he said. "I don't see how that [picketing] will further the cause."

Mr. Smith said it was clear to him what purpose the road would serve when he moved there last year.

Little Elm Town Manager J.C. Hughes said information about the road's future role was available at Town Hall before anyone moved into the development.

"You'd have to stop and think, 'That doesn't look like a neighborhood street,' " he said. "I would have asked questions."

Mr. Hughes said the town has no involvement in the dispute. He said the town has posted signs along the road, indicating that it will become a major thoroughfare. And information about the road started arriving inside water bills about a year ago, he said.

Mr. Smith also raised concerns - during the last Town Council meeting - about Mr. Ellender's role as a planning and zoning commissioner for the town. "At best, I think it's awkward," he said.

Mr. Ellender was appointed to a two-year term on the town's five-member commission about six months ago. He said when one of his subdivision's builders came before the commission last week with a request, he abstained from any discussion or vote.

Commission chairman Charles Luther said he doesn't have a problem with his colleague's public battle.

"I was under the impression that Andrew was speaking as a homeowner and not as a member of the P and Z," he said. "It's going be a real touchy situation."

Meanwhile, tensions are rising among residents.

Mr. Ellender said an altercation that broke out when his group was recently picketing inside the subdivision nearly turned violent.

"The builders are organizing homeowners against me to try to shut me down," said Mr. Ellender, who wants Drees to buy back his home so he can move. "I'm done. I don't have much of a chance here to have much of a life anymore."

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