âYou can't fix a broken or tilted foundation,â Touve said. âRepairs haven't fixed the problem.â
The homeowners believe shifting soil beneath their homes is causing various structural problems â cracks in foundations, slabs, walls, ceilings and floors, and sticking doors and windows.
A steering committee, co-chaired by Ian McIntosh and Bob Faust, will represent the homeowners in dealing with Pulte. McIntosh said the committee will also be involved in pressing for stringent regulations of homebuilders in Schertz, such as requiring that homebuilders be bonded and licensed and denying permits to homebuilders who have problems with homes in other parts of the city.
âThis would stop Pulte, or any builder, (from) building (more) subdivisions that will fall apart in a matter of years,â McIntosh said. âIt's something we need to work toward with the city, to stop this from happening to other people.â
At a meeting Monday in a Fairhaven subdivision home, Janet Ahmad, president of Home Owners for Better Building, said the homeowners need to stick together if they are to get Pulte to buy back their homes.
âOne thing I want to instill in you is do not get discouraged over the process,â Ahmad said. âIt doesn't happen overnight.
âI'm not going to get your houses bought back for you. The steering committee is not going to get it done. But they're going to give you the best we got in seeing to it we stay focused on what needs to be done. You're the ones who are going to do it.â
Pulte spokeswoman Valerie Dolenga last week said the homebuilder doesn't buy back homes except in rare cases â such as when it offered to buy back homes in the Hills of River Mist subdivision in northwest San Antonio in 2010. Several of those homes were damaged by a collapsed retaining wall and had their certificates of occupancy revoked by the city.
âWe are standing behind our homes,â Dolenga said. âWe are going to fix and repair them.â
Some homeowners went before the Schertz City Council Jan. 3 asking for the help and support of the city.
Mayor Hal Baldwin told the homeowners the council is behind them, but that the city is limited in what it can do to help.
âWe're working very closely with our staff and our attorney on just exactly how we can put some pressure on Pulte without infringing on any areas we can't really get into,â Baldwin said.
âIt's a tough thing,â the mayor added. âI want you to know that this council supports your positions and we will do anything that we can do within our power, but our powers in this situation are limited. (Pulte) holds all the cards and we don't hold any.â