Homeowners frustrated with unfinished public improvements
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Koller Pointe is a 140-unit planned community of new construction single family homes selling for around $350,000. The first custom built homes were sold in 2006. But since the real estate market crashed in 2007-2008, remaining lots have been slow to sell.
Bobby Jackson, President of the 3-member HOA board, tells The York Dispatch that only one vacant lot remains in Koller Pointe. But dozens of homeowners are growing impatient with the developer of Keystone Custom Homes.
Among their numerous complaints: an unsightly and hazardous storm water drainage basin, poor drainage with rain water accumulating in the street and some back yards, a rusty old construction trailer parked in a cul-de-sac of the community, cracked and crumbling sidewalks, and the fact that no streetlights have been installed.
New Freedom Borough acknowledges that the developer must complete common areas and make improvements before the municipality will accept roads, water, and sewer lines for ongoing maintenance. They hold a bond for nearly $700,000, that can be used to finish any work the developer fails to complete.
Homeowners have been waiting several years for Keystone to complete necessary improvements and take care of deferred maintenance.
Some residents also have personal concerns about their homes, such as basement window wells that are buckling and cracking, and foundation waterproofing membranes that have shifted since construction. (See photos in the article below)
Residents of New Freedom neighborhood ‘fed up’ with delayed improvements
David Weissman, 505-5431/@DispatchDavid
Published 11:57 a.m. ET Sept. 1, 2017 | Updated 6:44 p.m. ET Sept. 5, 2017
The York Dispatch
When Bobby Jackson moved with his then-pregnant wife in 2007 into his newly built home in the Koller Pointe development, he was told the temporary retention pond across the street would be gone within two years.
Jackson’s 3-year-old daughter would later drive her Barbie jeep into that pond — luckily avoiding injury — and now, more than seven years after that incident, he is still faced with the large, unsightly hole in the ground when he leaves his New Freedom home for work every morning.
That hole — which the developer said is now a sediment basin — is the site of the final lot remaining for Keystone Custom Homes to build on in the 140-home community, where construction first began in 2006.
While new-home construction in Koller Pointe is near completion, the developer still has a lot of public improvements to complete, according to borough manager Tanya Crawford.
Crawford said the borough’s engineer recently inspected the development and found numerous shortfalls, including stormwater management issues, road pavement problems and no street lights.
Read more (Video, Photos):
A quick reading of the Declarations (CC&Rs) for Koller Pointe reveals the following: (see below for screen shots)
- the HOA is responsible for maintenance of the storm water drainage basin. The Borough may correct any nuisance violations of the retention pond and bill the HOA, but it is not required to do so.
- individual lot owners are responsible for maintaining any sidewalks in front of their homes. The HOA only maintains sidewalk within the designated common area.
- the HOA could be stuck maintaining the roads, sanitary sewer and potable water lines, if, for some reason, the Borough refuses to accept them. That is why it is so critically important to get the developer to complete all improvements, and to make certain that those responsibilities are passed onto New Freedom Borough, as intended.
- Furthermore, once the last lot is sold (or before), the developer can transfer ownership of the common areas, including the dilapidated storm water pond, to the HOA. And at that time, according to the governing documents, HOA assessments will increase. Current assessments are $125 per year, according to the HOA’s website.
These are the kinds of details that buyers and homeowners need to know, so that they can understand their rights and obligations as mandatory members of Koller Pointe HOA.
Bottom line: it is important for buyers read and understand the entire set of governing documents, not just the aesthetic or architectural rules and restrictions.