HomeLatest NewsFeatured HomebuildersHome Buyer ResourcesBinding ArbitrationResource LinksSubmit ComplaintsView ComplaintsTake Action 101!Report Mortgage FraudMortgage Fraud NewsForeclosure NewsConstruction DefectsHome DefectsPhoto GalleryFoundation ProblemsHomeowner Website LinksHOA Reform

HUD FEATURE
1981 - 2015 HUD's
Legacy of Scandals

HOBB-Over 1M visits monthly
Daily Visitors Over 37,000
 Highest Daily 70,723

Main Menu
Home
Latest News
Featured Homebuilders
Home Buyer Resources
Binding Arbitration
Resource Links
Submit Complaints
View Complaints
Take Action 101!
Report Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage Fraud News
Foreclosure News
Construction Defects
Home Defects
Photo Gallery
Foundation Problems
Homeowner Website Links
HOA Reform
Featured Topics
Builder Death Spiral
Report Mortgage Fraud
Foreclosure Special Report
Mold & New Home Guide
Special News Reports
Centex & Habitability
How Fast Can They Build Them?
TRCC Editorial
Texas TRCC Scandal
Texas Watch - Tell Lawmakers
TRCC Recommendations
Sandra Bullock
People's Lawyer
Prevent Nightmare Homes
Choice Homes
Smart Money
Weekly Update Message
HOBB Archives
About HOBB
Contact Us
Fair Use Notice
Legislative Work
Your House

 HOBB News Alerts
and Updates

Click Here to Subscribe

Support HOBB - Become a Sustaining Member
Who's Online
We have 1 guest online
ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration

Property Rights Denied!
Protecting HOA Members' Rights is NOT The #1 Priority
of Managed Communities
The High Price of Managed Living, Books and Records Hidden
gives appearances of impropriety
Editorial Feature: Part One - Are Homeowners' Rights a Myth? 

Part Two: HOA Bureaucrats Overstep Their Authority

Unregulated and Uncontrolled Development the Freedom to Rob Someone
Thursday, 26 January 2012

$200,000 bought nothing but trouble
Dominguez and two dozen other buyers shelled out more than $200,000 apiece for spacious, 11-acre-plus residential lots. They had big plans to start building custom homes quickly on their rustic properties near Leon Creek and move in. That was seven years ago. Today, the dream homes are just that — a dream...Clearwater Ranch totaled $4.3 million, according to deeds filed at the Bexar County Courthouse.

$200,000 bought nothing but trouble
By Jennifer Hiller and John Tedesco
   
          
          
BIZ --A view of a washed out bridge in the Clearwater Ranch subdivision in Northwest
           
  Bexar County
, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. The bridge washed out during the 2007
              floods. Lots in the 11-acre plus range were sold by a developer that stopped work
              after selling many of the expensive home sites in the over 300-acres development.
              Although out in the county, the property lies within the city's ETJ zone and won't
              let the landowners rebuild the bridge. It is not the only problem that they are facing.
              Shoddy work on the roads and other bridges in the property has led to deterioration.
              JERRY LARA/ SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

            On a crisp afternoon beyond the gated entry to Clearwater Ranch, it's easy to see why people like Carl Dominguez were eager to build their dream home on the bucolic Hill Country property.

Located at the end of Huntress Lane near Scenic Loop Road in Northwest Bexar County, it features the kind of rugged terrain that is highly prized by buyers: undulating, quiet and dotted with live oaks and wildlife.

Dominguez and two dozen other buyers shelled out more than $200,000 apiece for spacious, 11-acre-plus residential lots. They had big plans to start building custom homes quickly on their rustic properties near Leon Creek and move in.

That was seven years ago. Today, the dream homes are just that — a dream.

The original developer of Clearwater Ranch, a company co-owned by Craig Glendenning, failed to secure necessary permits to develop the 370-acre property. Bexar County officials didn't learn about the bungled project until most of the lots had been sold and buyers had forked over millions.

County inspectors found roads built in a flood plain without permits and prohibited further construction in early 2007. Then the housing bubble popped and Glendenning dropped out of the project. Now the landowners are stuck.

They still can't build homes. Roads built just six years ago are crumbling. An unauthorized low water crossing at Leon Creek has washed out. The only luxury home the county allowed to be built is vacant and bank-owned — its builder went bankrupt.

“We just need one simple law, that you can't sell property until it's been approved by the city or county,” said Dominguez, who bought a lot in May 2006 before the problems surfaced. “Don't let developers sell land until it's ready to be built on.”

Bexar County officials say state law limits its oversight of large-lot developments, and it's difficult to discover unsanctioned development on large, private properties. County Engineer Renee Green said the county sometimes is tipped off when neighbors or potential buyers call with questions, or when someone finally applies for a septic permit.

“Anyone who even has a question as (to) the status of a subdivision should contact us. We'll tell you exactly what we have. We'll tell you where it is in the process,” Green said. “Give us a call. That's all we can do.”

Glendenning, 57, was apologetic in an interview. He said he fell in love with Clearwater Ranch like every other buyer, and planned to build his own dream home there.

But after the county raised concerns, he ran out of money when the market crashed and he lost the lots he owned through foreclosures.

“In '05, what could go wrong?” he said with a sigh, referring to the project's origins during the real estate boom. “Everything did.”

Hard lessons

The remaining owners of Clearwater Ranch have been left to learn the hard way what it takes to be a developer as they try to complete it on their own.

They've learned their way around the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Bexar County's engineering office, and paid thousands of dollars on endangered species studies and flood studies.

Glendenning's business partner at Clearwater Ranch, Alejandro Medina de la Cruz, still owns some lots at the ranch and has been pitching in.

It's a complex web that's normally woven by a developer long before a buyer ever purchases.

“The biggest struggle for us has been we're just homeowners,” said Dominguez, who has helped lead property-owner efforts to complete paperwork needed so people can build. “We don't know anything about this stuff, but we're having to figure out this whole system.”

Property owners in Clearwater Ranch haven't filed any lawsuits, and Dominguez and others say attorneys have advised them to spend money on the property instead.

“The way (Glendenning) had all the corporations, there's no way to get at him personally,” Dominguez said.

Little oversight

Clearwater Ranch is in an unincorporated area of Bexar County in the city of San Antonio's extraterritorial jurisdiction. Green said the county first was alerted to the development when the developer advertised online and tied a private road to a county road without a permit.

In early 2007, Bexar County records show inspectors found several problems. The most serious was how private roads in Clearwater Ranch were built in flood plains without the required studies and permits.

Green said steep inclines on some roads and the low water crossing also mean that fire and EMS vehicles probably wouldn't be able to reach all of the lots. Over the years, inspectors checked the roads again and found sections had eroded and a low water crossing had washed away.

At various points in 2007, county records show that Bexar County threatened to barricade the entrance to Clearwater Ranch, met with representatives of Glendenning's company, Post Oak Development of Texas, and told the developer to send a certified letter warning owners that they may not have access to emergency services.

Some owners say the warning came too late; many of the lots had been sold in 2005 and 2006.

Property records don't show complete sales figures paid to the developer. But mortgages for 13 buyers in the early days of Clearwater Ranch totaled $4.3 million, according to deeds filed at the Bexar County Courthouse.

Glendenning's company sold the lots “as is,” according to the deeds of sale.

“He's a piece of work, let me tell you,” said lot buyer Dr. Dennis Karasek, who says he was told the roads were almost done and electrical lines were ready to be installed.

“He said it's all just about to be developed,” Karasek recalled.

That was six years ago.

Post Oak

Clearwater Ranch isn't the only Post Oak project to run into trouble.

Glendenning's company and partner Baruch Properties Ltd. ran afoul of Fish and Wildlife in 2008. According to San Antonio Express-News archives, the agency launched a probe into the clearing of land at the Cresta Bella neighborhood near Camp Bullis, which may have been habitat to the golden-cheeked warbler.

Glendenning denied there was an endangered-species habitat.

Post Oak's website also touted the Heights of Crownridge, a neighborhood that came under scrutiny by the city of San Antonio for cracked retaining walls.

The company that now owns the neighborhood purchased it at a foreclosure auction. It has to redo engineering work and make retaining wall repairs while the city withholds building permits for some lots.

“I had nothing to do with the retaining walls,” Glendenning said. “I didn't lift a brick on that one.”

Buyers of lots at Clearwater Ranch don't know what happened to their money. Glendenning said the funds went to design work, paving roads and paying off the original bank loan used to purchase the land. He said no money was spent on other developments in his portfolio.

There wasn't any (money) left over for that,” he said. “We never got the debt paid off.”

Bexar County records show more than $5.5 million in liens and judgments for unpaid debts were filed against Glendenning and Post Oak Development since 2005, including an IRS tax lien of $1.2 million. Some debts were settled; others are outstanding.

Fixing the paper trail

There's only one home at Clearwater Ranch, a 5,649-square-foot spec home by Monaco Homes. But the company since has filed for bankruptcy and the home is lender- owned.

Property owners said the spec home was built using generators when the builder became the first to learn, during construction, that there were no utilities yet.

Then buyers started realizing just how much paperwork was left before they could secure basics such as electric transformers.

Despite the hassles, the owners at Clearwater Ranch are optimistic that they are close to setting aside an old 1980 plat on the property, something that must happen when land is subdivided differently than an original plan. That would clear the path for septic permits and power hookups.

Property owner Charles Anderson said they owe an $18,000 storm water fee to the city of San Antonio. An engineering firm that has been helping them is owed around $40,000, and there have been some legal fees. “Although it's all a paper trail, it's a $70,000 paper trail to fix,” he said.

Because there are a few lots that can be accessed only by crossing Leon Creek, Anderson said they've also been told they eventually would need to build a bridge at a cost of $150,000 to $175,000, which would trigger a new environmental study.

“You better like to camp out, because it's all it's going to be good for,” Anderson said, referring to the land on the other side of Leon Creek.

Real estate agent and property owner Jason Glast said he didn't foresee the complications. “When I was determining if I should buy the lot for my family I had to think, what is the worst-case scenario? I could have never thought of this,” he said.

As for Glendenning, he's working as a “land man” for an energy company setting up mineral-rights leases. He said his days as a real estate developer are over.

“I'm not doing it any more, I guarantee you,” Glendenning said. “I've almost lost my mind.”

On a crisp afternoon beyond the gated entry to Clearwater Ranch, it's easy to see why people like Carl Dominguez were eager to build their dream home on the bucolic Hill Country property.

Located at the end of Huntress Lane near Scenic Loop Road in Northwest Bexar County, it features the kind of rugged terrain that is highly prized by buyers: undulating, quiet and dotted with live oaks and wildlife.

Dominguez and two dozen other buyers shelled out more than $200,000 apiece for spacious, 11-acre-plus residential lots. They had big plans to start building custom homes quickly on their rustic properties near Leon Creek and move in.

That was seven years ago. Today, the dream homes are just that — a dream.

The original developer of Clearwater Ranch, a company co-owned by Craig Glendenning, failed to secure necessary permits to develop the 370-acre property. Bexar County officials didn't learn about the bungled project until most of the lots had been sold and buyers had forked over millions.

County inspectors found roads built in a flood plain without permits and prohibited further construction in early 2007. Then the housing bubble popped and Glendenning dropped out of the project. Now the landowners are stuck.

They still can't build homes. Roads built just six years ago are crumbling. An unauthorized low water crossing at Leon Creek has washed out. The only luxury home the county allowed to be built is vacant and bank-owned — its builder went bankrupt.

“We just need one simple law, that you can't sell property until it's been approved by the city or county,” said Dominguez, who bought a lot in May 2006 before the problems surfaced. “Don't let developers sell land until it's ready to be built on.”

Bexar County officials say state law limits its oversight of large-lot developments, and it's difficult to discover unsanctioned development on large, private properties. County Engineer Renee Green said the county sometimes is tipped off when neighbors or potential buyers call with questions, or when someone finally applies for a septic permit.

“Anyone who even has a question as (to) the status of a subdivision should contact us. We'll tell you exactly what we have. We'll tell you where it is in the process,” Green said. “Give us a call. That's all we can do.”

Glendenning, 57, was apologetic in an interview. He said he fell in love with Clearwater Ranch like every other buyer, and planned to build his own dream home there.

But after the county raised concerns, he ran out of money when the market crashed and he lost the lots he owned through foreclosures.

“In '05, what could go wrong?” he said with a sigh, referring to the project's origins during the real estate boom. “Everything did.”

Hard lessons

The remaining owners of Clearwater Ranch have been left to learn the hard way what it takes to be a developer as they try to complete it on their own.

They've learned their way around the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Bexar County's engineering office, and paid thousands of dollars on endangered species studies and flood studies.

Glendenning's business partner at Clearwater Ranch, Alejandro Medina de la Cruz, still owns some lots at the ranch and has been pitching in.

It's a complex web that's normally woven by a developer long before a buyer ever purchases.

“The biggest struggle for us has been we're just homeowners,” said Dominguez, who has helped lead property-owner efforts to complete paperwork needed so people can build. “We don't know anything about this stuff, but we're having to figure out this whole system.”

Property owners in Clearwater Ranch haven't filed any lawsuits, and Dominguez and others say attorneys have advised them to spend money on the property instead.

“The way (Glendenning) had all the corporations, there's no way to get at him personally,” Dominguez said.

Little oversight

Clearwater Ranch is in an unincorporated area of Bexar County in the city of San Antonio's extraterritorial jurisdiction. Green said the county first was alerted to the development when the developer advertised online and tied a private road to a county road without a permit.

In early 2007, Bexar County records show inspectors found several problems. The most serious was how private roads in Clearwater Ranch were built in flood plains without the required studies and permits.

Green said steep inclines on some roads and the low water crossing also mean that fire and EMS vehicles probably wouldn't be able to reach all of the lots. Over the years, inspectors checked the roads again and found sections had eroded and a low water crossing had washed away.

At various points in 2007, county records show that Bexar County threatened to barricade the entrance to Clearwater Ranch, met with representatives of Glendenning's company, Post Oak Development of Texas, and told the developer to send a certified letter warning owners that they may not have access to emergency services.

Some owners say the warning came too late; many of the lots had been sold in 2005 and 2006.

Property records don't show complete sales figures paid to the developer. But mortgages for 13 buyers in the early days of Clearwater Ranch totaled $4.3 million, according to deeds filed at the Bexar County Courthouse.

Glendenning's company sold the lots “as is,” according to the deeds of sale.

“He's a piece of work, let me tell you,” said lot buyer Dr. Dennis Karasek, who says he was told the roads were almost done and electrical lines were ready to be installed.

“He said it's all just about to be developed,” Karasek recalled.

That was six years ago.

Post Oak

Clearwater Ranch isn't the only Post Oak project to run into trouble.

Glendenning's company and partner Baruch Properties Ltd. ran afoul of Fish and Wildlife in 2008. According to San Antonio Express-News archives, the agency launched a probe into the clearing of land at the Cresta Bella neighborhood near Camp Bullis, which may have been habitat to the golden-cheeked warbler.

Glendenning denied there was an endangered-species habitat.

Post Oak's website also touted the Heights of Crownridge, a neighborhood that came under scrutiny by the city of San Antonio for cracked retaining walls.

The company that now owns the neighborhood purchased it at a foreclosure auction. It has to redo engineering work and make retaining wall repairs while the city withholds building permits for some lots.

“I had nothing to do with the retaining walls,” Glendenning said. “I didn't lift a brick on that one.”

Buyers of lots at Clearwater Ranch don't know what happened to their money. Glendenning said the funds went to design work, paving roads and paying off the original bank loan used to purchase the land. He said no money was spent on other developments in his portfolio.

“There wasn't any (money) left over for that,” he said. “We never got the debt paid off.”

Bexar County records show more than $5.5 million in liens and judgments for unpaid debts were filed against Glendenning and Post Oak Development since 2005, including an IRS tax lien of $1.2 million. Some debts were settled; others are outstanding.

Fixing the paper trail

There's only one home at Clearwater Ranch, a 5,649-square-foot spec home by Monaco Homes. But the company since has filed for bankruptcy and the home is lender- owned.

Property owners said the spec home was built using generators when the builder became the first to learn, during construction, that there were no utilities yet.

Then buyers started realizing just how much paperwork was left before they could secure basics such as electric transformers.

Despite the hassles, the owners at Clearwater Ranch are optimistic that they are close to setting aside an old 1980 plat on the property, something that must happen when land is subdivided differently than an original plan. That would clear the path for septic permits and power hookups.

Property owner Charles Anderson said they owe an $18,000 storm water fee to the city of San Antonio. An engineering firm that has been helping them is owed around $40,000, and there have been some legal fees. “Although it's all a paper trail, it's a $70,000 paper trail to fix,” he said.

Because there are a few lots that can be accessed only by crossing Leon Creek, Anderson said they've also been told they eventually would need to build a bridge at a cost of $150,000 to $175,000, which would trigger a new environmental study.

“You better like to camp out, because it's all it's going to be good for,” Anderson said, referring to the land on the other side of Leon Creek.

Real estate agent and property owner Jason Glast said he didn't foresee the complications. “When I was determining if I should buy the lot for my family I had to think, what is the worst-case scenario? I could have never thought of this,” he said.

As for Glendenning, he's working as a “land man” for an energy company setting up mineral-rights leases. He said his days as a real estate developer are over.

“I'm not doing it any more, I guarantee you,” Glendenning said. “I've almost lost my mind.”

 




 
< Prev   Next >

 Texas, First Home Lemon Law Debated in the Nation
Homebuyers Need a Home Lemon Law

Search HOBB.org

 Beware of HOA Payment Plan! 

HOA Foreclosures Big Business 
ON THE COMMONS with Shu Bartholomew
Dr. Evan McKenzie HOA Governments

Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
Economic Armageddon


Amazon
Barnes & Noble

 Feature
Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing

NY Times: Building Flawed American Dreams 
Read CATO Institute: 
HUD Scandals

Listen to NPR:
Reckless Endangerman
by
Gretchen Morgenson : How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed
to Financial Crisis - Fannie Mae

ATTENTION TAXPAYERS:
 
Pulte-Centex $900 Million Grant
Bad Guys at Countrywide Profit on Mortgage Toxins

NPR Special Report
Part I Listen Now
Perry Home - No Warranty 
Part II Listen Now
Texas Favors Builders

Washington Post
The housing bubble, in four chapters
BusinessWeek Special Reports
Bonfire of the Builders
Homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis
Housing: That Sinking Feeling

Arbitration Fairness Now!
Sen Feingold, Rep Johnson
Introduce Consumer Justice
 
Senate Passes Franken
Binding Arbitration Amendment
  
   
Public Citizen Report 
Home Court Advantage
 

 (See photos) & Latest News

Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
 Arbitration Hearing,
Video of Homeowners
Testimony Advance to 1:55

Arbitration Bill Passes Senate
Four years to fight to get in court is not a day in Court, Jamie Leigh Jones 

 


Legislative
Watch
TEXAS ABOLISHES BUILDERS
PROTECTION AGENCY TRCC
 


Texas Regulates Homebuyers
 
Texas Comptroller Condemns TRCC Builder Protection Agency
TRCC is the punishment phase of homeownership in Texas

HOBB Update Messages

Consumer Affairs Builder Complaints

 TRCC Implosion
 TRCC Shut Down
 Sunset Report

IS YOUR STATE NEXT?
As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
Knowledge and Financial Responsibility are still Optional for Texas Home Builders

OUTSTANDING FOX4 REPORT
TRCC from Bad to Worse
Case of the Crooked House

Perry's Gifts Keep on Talking
Sun Never Sets On Politicians Taking Homebuilder Money

TRCC AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE
The Pat and Bob Egert Building & TRCC Experience 

Homebuilder's Right-To-Repair Illusion

Builders Looking for Federal Handouts

How Texas Home Building Industry shaped the TRCC to regulate buyers 

SpotLight
LiveTalk Internet

Build it right the first time
An interview with Janet Ahmad

HUD's Broken System
From HUD's Deregulation to Disgrace
Did HUD Secretary Cisneros
 Mastermind Predatory Lending?

Take Action
Ban Binding Mandatory Arbitration

Send a message urging your Congressman to support all legislation banning this unfair practice

Voting Texas Style
What Lawmaker is Voting for you?

Most Read

 Give Me Back My Rights Campaign
Model State Arbitration Legislation
Fair Homebuyer Contract Model

Bad Binding Arbitration Experience?
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
or call 1-210-402-6800

NCPIRG
Homebuyers' Bill of Rights
Tips for a Better Built Home and to Protect Your Investment

Drum Major Institute
for Public Policy

Tort Deform
Report Your Arbitration Experience

Homebuilding Texas Style
And the walls came
tumblin' down

 Texas Homebuilder
Bob Perry Political Contributions

  The Agency Bob Perry Built
 TRCC Connection News
Tort Reform

NPR Interview - Perry's
Political influence movement.
Click to listen 

Texas Homebuyers
Fight for Rights

TRCC Abolish or Fix
or Pass Home Lemon Law
or
Homebuyers Bill of Rights

POLICYHOLDERS OF AMERICA POLL
82% would not vote back in office any legislator, regardless of party, that is soft on bad homebuilders?

REWARD
MOST WANTED

ARIZONA REGISTRAR OF CONTRACTORS
Have you seen any of these individuals

Pulte Homeowner Survey
Warranty & Mortgage Experience
 Click to participate

Tort Reform Feature
Texas Monthly
 Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!

Special Money Report
Big Money and Shoddy Construction:Texas Home Buyers Left Out in the Cold
Read More
Read Report: Big Money…
Home Builder Money Source of Influence

Letters to the Editor
Write your letters to the Editor

Homeowner Websites

top of page

© 2017 HomeOwners for Better Building
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.