CLAYTON -- Homeowners in a Clayton subdivision are at odds with the town and the subdivision’s developer over a code violation.
In August, the town alerted the Homeowners Association of Wynston Ways that the landscaping of berms did not meet town standards. Homeowners in the subdivision, at the corner of Amelia Church and Guy roads, have since said they don’t think they should have to pay for the fix.
The berms, essentially landscaped mounds of dirt that buffer the subdivision from passing traffic, were completed with construction of the subdivision in 1999. However, the town’s code enforcement officer was recently made aware that the berms lacked required landscaping.
“This development was completed by Centex Homes back in the early 2000s,” said Matthew Katlen, vice president of the homeowners association. “From now until then, no complaint was made, and the homeowners were unaware that Centex had not met this requirement.”
The homeowners’ association is trying to get the developer, now known as Centex/Pulte, to return to Wynston Ways to do the work, and it has hired an attorney. If the developer doesn’t do the work, it would cost the homeowners roughly $15,000 out of pocket. The required landscaping calls for a mixture of trees and shrubs along Amelia Church Road and Wynston Road.
The town has held off fining the homeowners association for the code violation while the homeowners communicate with the developer, said Town Manager Steve Biggs. The town could fine the homeowners as much as $75 a day.
“The town could start fining us at any moment,” said Kenny Wendel, president of the homeowners’ association.
Biggs said he was unsure how the subdivision got away with not building the berms to the town’s specifications. He said the town no longer has the documents pertaining to the subdivision’s approval by the planning department.
“Our documentation is not what we would like it to be,” Biggs said.]
Centex/Pulte also lacks documentation from the development of the property. In an email exchange between Wendel and Kelli Gray, a warranty agent with Centex/Pulte, Gray said the company no longer has copies of planning materials from 1999 because the company doesn’t keep documents for more than 10 years.
“The city approved our plans and issued (certificates of occupancy) to us,” Gray wrote. “If something was not done to code, this is the first time we have heard of it. When we develop a community, we submit the plans to the city, and they approve what we do every step of the way.”
Biggs said the town doesn’t have documentation that the berms were ever built to the town’s specifications.
“The developer was responsible for complying with the standards and specifications of the development code, and we’re responsible for seeing ongoing compliance,” he said.
If the developer doesn’t step in to fix the berms, Wendel worries that homeowner dues will have to rise sharply to pay for the fix.