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Homeowners await developer's final plan

 

Last updated 4/3/2008 at Noon



When Mike Tenerowicz and his wife, Julie, moved into their new house in KB Home’s Shady Grove development (a private, gated community accessed from Stage Coach Lane) last July, the paperwork in their move-in packet read, “Thank you for placing your trust in KB Homes.”

Tenerowicz and other homeowners in the development have said they hope that element of trust will be honored given the fact that KB Homes has filed the requisite County paperwork to downsize the 61 homes planned for the remaining phases of the community.

The developer appears to be reducing the remaining homes in size from 2,250 to 3,500 square feet to between 1,650 and 2,150 square feet.

“Essentially, they are not going to deliver the community we bought into,” said Jim St. Pierre, who, along with wife Mickie, owns one of the new homes.

The collective concern of the homeowners is that the drastic reduction in the size of homes offered will change the overall caliber of the development and subsequently lead to a negative impact on property values.

In discussing what some of the negative aspects of downsizing the remaining homes might mean to the neighborhood, it was pointed out that smaller homes at significantly lower prices could mean multiple buyers (or co-signers), more occupants in a single-family home and more vehicles on the roads.

Mickie St. Pierre said she and the others requested a meeting with KB Homes, which was conducted by Senior Project Manager Eric Scheck on March 20.

St. Pierre said Scheck presented a revised plan for the 101-home community.

“We were told the smaller of the proposed new homes will sell in the $300,000s. The approval of their new plan will negatively impact the value of our homes,” said St. Pierre. “When we expressed our concerns, Scheck said, ‘It’s a done deal.’”

St. Pierre said the decision was puzzling, since the larger models were what have been most popular with potential homebuyers.

“They’ve never opened up those lots for purchase; we understand there is a waiting list of people who are interested,” she said. “That’s what is perplexing.”

St. Pierre said she had hoped that by communicating their concerns, KB Homes would consider what would best serve both the existing homeowners and the company.

In speaking with KB Homes corporate spokesperson Lindsay Stephenson on Tuesday, it appears that company leaders are well aware of the homeowners’ concerns and have every intention of reaching a workable plan, one that is likely to entail the development being split into two different communities.

“Our division president, Steve Ruffner, told me yesterday [Monday, March 31] that instead of building the homes [KB] was going to, they are going to separate them,” Stephenson said. “The existing homes will be on one side, then open space, then the new(er) ones.”

While the plans are in the works, Stephenson said, it will be eight or nine months before they are approved by the County of San Diego and become final.

“They are looking at the road system, a different entrance [for the remainder of the homes],” Stephenson said. “It would be better for us financially to build within the homes that are there, but we want to make sure the existing homeowners are happy.”

“We have decided to make it a separate community, a separate marketing plan, a separate name,” Stephenson said.

Until the dissension over the proposed change in the development, St. Pierre said the homeowners were pleased with the builder and felt things were running smoothly and pleasantly in the new neighborhoods.

“We were all so happy,” she said. “KB Homes has an outstanding construction superintendent on this job and a very friendly, efficient sales staff.”

St. Pierre said the change in the development was “the last thing she expected.”

Hearing that KB Homes is addressing their concerns, St. Pierre said on Tuesday, “This is the first good news we’ve heard. I understand it’s not in concrete, but it’s a start.”

Stephenson said KB Homes will endeavor to keep their customers happy and referenced the fact that the company has been named Most Admired Homebuilder by Fortune Magazine.

“We really do care about our customers,” Stephenson said. “We know they have invested in their homes and their community.”

 

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