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Live Oak Mayor, Council Members and City Attorney Urge Settlement
Tuesday, 07 August 2007

Residents told to solve developer dispute
Other protesters said they are not terrorists and have, in fact, been the victims of terror-like attacks, including having their protest signs removed from their houses late at night. Protesting homeowner Nancy Ferguson and other protesters said without their making noise and generating publicity, their happy homeowner neighbors would not have gotten their housing problems solved as fast by Ryland Homes. "They should be thanking us," Ferguson said. Also stunned by the vitriolic tone of the debate, Robert Brassfield of the happy homeowners group said he planned to apologize to the protesters after the meeting for the use of the word terrorist. He was seen talking to the protesting homeowners moments later.

Residents told to solve developer dispute
 08/06/2007
Chuck McCollough
Express-News


LIVE OAK — Stunned at hearing neighbors calling neighbors "terrorists" and the plea of a youngster to "have our old friendly neighborhood back," city officials strongly urged protesting residents of Bridlewood Park subdivision to work with Ryland Homes to solve drainage and construction issues regarding their houses.

The 100-plus house neighborhood is located near Loop 1604 and Lookout Road.

During a July 31 City Council meeting, Mayor Henry Edwards and City Attorney Mayo Galindo practically begged the six protesting homeowners and the home builder to try again, and Councilwoman Ann Mancillas said they were "wasting their time" returning again and again to City Council because only the two sides have the power to resolve the issue.

At the end of a nearly four-hour City Council meeting, Ryland Homes and the homeowners demanding the company buy back their houses said they were willing to try again.

The protesting homeowners, who have been picketing the Ryland Homes sales office in their neighborhood and who have appeared before City Council numerous times with emotional stories about construction and drainage problems, repeated that the only solution is a buyback by Ryland, but softened that a bit by the end of the long meeting.

"We are willing to meet with Ryland again to work on this," said protesting homeowner Todd Ferguson who earlier in the meeting referred to Ryland Homes officials as "crooks" and "liars."

Thaddeus Kochan, another protesting homeowner, also said he and the group were willing to try talking to Ryland again.

Ryland Homes San Antonio division president Richard Schroeder said his company is open to exploring any option to resolve the issue except one.

"We cannot accept a situation where someone tells us to buy back their house at a price they set with no negotiation," he said.

Schroeder said the developer of Bridlewood Park (a separate company from Ryland Homes) has purchased two houses and Ryland has talked to one homeowner about a buy back but that homeowner insisted on a set price and no negotiation.

"We can't do that," he said.

Schroeder said Ryland would even consider moving the unhappy homeowners to different houses in the same subdivision.

A new wrinkle in the Ryland Homes versus protesting homeowners was a group of about two dozen pro-Ryland residents in Bridlewood Park who attended the Aug. 31 council meeting. They said protesters are disrupting the neighborhood and driving down property values.

The pro-Ryland group gave council a petition with about 40 signatures saying they were happy with Ryland Homes and unhappy with their "disgruntled" neighbors who are protesting alleged poor home construction and drainage issues with their lots.

The issue moved from Ryland Homes versus protesting homeowners to a neighbor versus neighbor debate that grew ugly and emotional.

The pro-Ryland group called themselves happy homeowners and insisted they were not controlled by the home builder.

One of those residents, Jammie Space, didn't mince words.

"I just returned from the desert in February fighting the global war on terrorism, and I come into a community that is starting to refer to terrorist-type attacks. I want to inform this council how some of our neighbors and our community are being terrorized by a minority of disgruntled homeowners who will not allow Ryland in to fix any problems in their homes," Space said. He added that the protestors have "terrorized" Ryland sales representatives and videotaped and followed pro-Ryland homeowners.

Teenager Alexandra Austin's testimony left some in the City Hall chambers shaking their heads.

"I want to tell you how it feels to be a kid in Bridlewood Park now that we have protesters in our neighborhood. We used to have so much fun hanging out at the park but now we are too afraid. We have been chased by cars and been yelled at and called bad names by protesters. We want our old friendly neighborhood back," she said.

Testimony from the protesters was just as emotional.

Josefina Govea, who told how she and her sister have had nothing but problems with their new house since moving from California, cried and demanded again that Ryland buy back her house.

Other protesters said they are not terrorists and have, in fact, been the victims of terror-like attacks, including having their protest signs removed from their houses late at night.

Protesting homeowner Nancy Ferguson and other protesters said without their making noise and generating publicity, their happy homeowner neighbors would not have gotten their housing problems solved as fast by Ryland Homes.

"They should be thanking us," Ferguson said.

Also stunned by the vitriolic tone of the debate, Robert Brassfield of the happy homeowners group said he planned to apologize to the protesters after the meeting for the use of the word terrorist. He was seen talking to the protesting homeowners moments later.

 


 

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