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Pulte's Damaged Fairhaven Homes
Thursday, 12 July 2012

Fairhaven residents ask County Commissioners for help with damaged homes
A group of homeowners from the Cibolo area is asking the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court for help. Donna Fitzgerald, a resident of the Fairhaven subdivision on the west end of the county, told county commissioners Tuesday morning that she and her neighbors are asking for help because they are frustrated with the Schertz City Council and Pulte Homes for failing to solve, or helping to solve, the issue with the foundations cracking on so many homes in their neighborhood. She says they've been dealing with damaged homes for months.

Fairhaven residents ask County Commissioners for help with damaged homes

This photo, which was shown to the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Tuesday, shows one of the homes in the Fairhaven subdivision in the Cibolo area that is having foundation issues. Fairhaven homeowners asked the court Tuesday for help in dealing with their failing foundations. Photo courtesy HOBB.org.

By Jessica Domel

(Cibolo) -- A group of homeowners from the Cibolo area is asking the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court for help.

Donna Fitzgerald, a resident of the Fairhaven subdivision on the west end of the county, told county commissioners Tuesday morning that she and her neighbors are asking for help because they are frustrated with the Schertz City Council and Pulte Homes for failing to solve, or helping to solve, the issue with the foundations cracking on so many homes in their neighborhood. She says they've been dealing with damaged homes for months.

"I want to point out, first of all, that it's a pleasure to be speaking in front of y'all because y'all are engaged. We've been going every Tuesday at six o'clock to the Schertz City Council to speak to them. They don't even look at us. They play around on their computers, and they chit-chat with each other, so thank y'all for listening. I appreciate it, but we just wanted to let y'all know what's been going on," said Fitzgerald. "We have a grievance with Pulte. There's a large majority of homes in our subdivision which are basically falling apart at the seams. There are severe problems with foundations and other issues."

Fitzgerald says the city council members in Schertz recommended that the homeowners obtain legal counsel, which they did. Other than that, Fitzgerald says they've done nothing to help the residents as their houses fall apart.

"We are just seeking y'all’s assistance to help with us as non-biased professional people to come sit with us and help us in our pursuit against Pulte. We actually want to buy our homes back. They keep saying they won't. They say they want to fix it, but apparently these problems can't be fixed," said Fitzgerald.

Dan Hollestelle, who also lives in Fairhaven, told the court that after the homeowners hired a lawyer, it's become more difficult to deal with Pulte as the company then cancelled a meeting with the homeowners to discuss the issue.

"Come to find out, maybe that was the wrong thing, but we did that with the city council's (recommendation), 'Get a lawyer.' Just a deal the other day, (Schertz City Councilman) Cederic Edwards went to one of our neighbors' Melinda Ruiz's house, and he told her she should walk away from the house - just walk away from it and leave it," said Hollestelle. "That's going to go on your credit and all that. That's what the city council is helping us with. She called me Thursday, and her tiles had popped up because they were jack-hammering on the foundation on the one beside her. The tiles popped up. So they're fixing that one and breaking that one."

Janet Ahmad of HomeOwners for Better Building says the homeowners thought the ordeal would be over several months ago. She says the homeowners feel as though Pulte Homes is playing games with them.

"Those foundations have split totally in half horizontally -just like cutting a cake and slicing one layer of cake or kind-of like a birthday cake just sliding. That's what's wrong. Pulte knows exactly what's wrong with those houses," said Ahmad. "We know that when they do sit down with these homeowners, as they said they would, they talk about things like 'Well those engineers we had before weren't so good. We're not happy with them,' and 'That was before my time. I just came on the job.' Those are the kind of things that are said that are disingenuous because the gentlemen didn't just come on the job. He had been there before, and now they want to have you choose between some engineers, new engineers, so they can come out and start things all over again. The truth of the matter is they know exactly what's wrong with those foundations."

At a public hearing in Schertz last year, Ahmad says Pulte presented a proposal for a French drain to the Schertz City Council as one remedy to the problem.

"If you go along that upper portion of it (the neighborhood), the houses were pulling away from the driveways. On some of them, the driveways were sitting there and they had six inches of concrete put in between that an the apron of the driveway. Those houses were moving. They put in a French drain in October. There had been no rain. I don't think that's very difficult to remember how bad that drought was, and they blame these foundation failures on that drought. I don't think that's the case," said Ahmad.

Ahmad says there's something seriously wrong with the homes in Fairhaven. She says taxpayers are losing their money because many of them cannot live in their homes because the foundations are cracking, causing flooring to crack and other issues inside the residences.

County commissioners did not comment on the situation at their meeting Tuesday.

Calls made to Pulte Homes were unreturned Tuesday.

 http://www.seguintoday.com/
 
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