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Old 08-18-2007, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Drums, PA
7 posts, read 39,647 times
Reputation: 12
Default Drums, PA

This little town at the intersection of routes 80 and 81 has grown up quite a bit in the short 4 years since we moved up from Philly. No wonder, given its location and local efforts to attract industry from N. Jersey and NYC. The birthplace of Jack Palance has been resurrected due to its proximity to both New York and Philadelphia (each approx. 1.5 hours' drive), the impending PA casinos and explosion in available jobs (mostly in manufacturing segment, but also growing commercially). Just as importantly, it is located west of the Poconos "proper"; the old honeymoon/resort havens near Lake Wallenpaupack. Because of this, property values have been more protected.

But this post does not concern the supremely livable conditions of our quaint mountain town. I've registered and am posting to express my opinions about Tuskes Homes, the developer of the Sand Springs Golf Community where we settled exactly 4 years ago.

By all accounts, Tuskes builds a nice home. I work in the building materials industry, so I am familiar with some of the practices of builders to save money and influence local codes toward that purpose. Examples include joists and trusses being laid 24" on-center (rather than 16"), using OSB instead of plywood and the seemingly-standard 2x4" studs on exterior walls. Tuskes has not conformed to these lower standards, thankfully. We love our home.

But here's the rub: once you buy from Tuskes Homes, you are at their mercy. Recently, all residents of our community received a letter from a property-management group informing us that we all now belong to a homeowners association, along with the obligatory bill for dues. Nevermind that nowhere in our contracts does it state that we would be required to join an association: if we did not pay, we faced possible liens on our properties. Initial attempts to reach Tuskes to discuss the matter were largely ignored by the builder. Not until the homeowners united (in essence, forming an association), did we get attention. The collection of dues has been delayed, but the HOA will be imposed. Surprisingly, Pennsylvania laws are on the side of the builder. We will be required to join or face a lien or be forced to move.

More recently, and more importantly to us, is an issue that effects the property value of our home and that of our next-door neighbor. Not listed in the development plans, Tuskes began construction of a water tower directly across the street on a hillside facing our property. Nevermind the unsightliness of the thing-- that's actually not the concern. It's this: they cleared trees and land for its construction last fall and this Spring's rains revealed a serious flaw: there is not adequate drainage to accomodate the run-off of dirt and sediment. Subsequently, our property-- and that of our neighbor-- has been deluged by water and sediment. In May, a portion of my driveway collapsed where the run-off gathers. I immediately attempted to contact the builder, but never got closer than his secretary.

I have written 5 emails, sent a complaint to the PA attorney general and contacted my local congressional representative. All this is in motion as I type, but three months later, there has absolutely zero response from Tuskes to rectify the problem.

It's simple, really. Tuskes failed to provide a drain pipe beneath the driveway of the residence across the street, as they built that home with the intention of quick-sale prior to the construction of the water tower (no, the homeowner was not informed there would be a mammoth water tower in his back yard). Without the drain pipe, the water channels directly into my yard. My driveway collapsed, there's dirt and stone and clay everywhere in my yard and I have the added benefit of uncontrollable weed growth from all the seedlings that have naturally washed down every rain storm.

And Tuskes continues to ignore us.

It's easier to see than to describe. Have a look:

Tuskes Homes Fails to Provide Adequate Drainage



Sorry for the rambling message-- I am doing everything in my power short of retaining an attorney (my last option) to rectify this problem. I have read posts in this forum from folks looking to relocate to the PA mountains and looking at Tuskes Homes. To the former, I say "good choice-- welcome!", but to the latter I caution: do so at your own risk.

Last edited by FivePointsGolf; 08-18-2007 at 07:22 AM..

 
Old 08-18-2007, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,087 posts, read 45,298,359 times
Reputation: 10959
I'm sorry for your terrible ordeals and experiences with Tuskes Homes, but I can't honestly say I'm surprised. Welcome to the poorly-planned wasteland of suburban Pennsylvania, where money talks and residents are given the shaft.

While I believe Butler Township, which governs Drums, is now the fastest-growing municipality out of the 76 in Luzerne County due to the rapid growth in places such as Beech Mountain Lakes and Sand Springs, my own hometown of Pittston Township, equidistant from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, is also in a growth spurt, and existing residents are also being given the "runaround" when we inquire about the planning and engineering studies that had been done in advance of new projects as we attempt to protect our homes, which are our largest investments.

There is now a lawsuit pending against the City of Pittston, which lies directly downhill from the Township of Pittston, in which the owners of a downtown antiques store are suing the city for failing to properly-maintain an underground water runoff tunnel that carries excess water downhill from the township and into the Susquehanna River. Heavy rainfalls now cause massive damage to their former store, which has now been deemed unsafe for habitation due to foundation damage. Mayor Keating claims the responsibility lies with Pittston Township because the massive deforestation in our community is causing water runoff problems all over town, but township supervisor Anthony Attardo claims that the township isn't responsible for the increased runoff. I'd personally like to see Attardo's Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering that gave him the expertise and knowledge necessary to be CERTAIN that massively deforesting an area won't result in water runoff issues for areas downhill. In all fairness, I hope that the City of Pittston sues the Township of Pittston in what may be an unprecendented case of one community suing another for problems resulting from urban sprawl. I'm by no means a civil engineer either, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that water will always travel donwhill to the lowest point, which is the City of Pittston. When you clear-cut vegetation for non-permeable asphalt in new industrial parks, shopping centers, and housing developments, as is happening in Pittston Township (and is visible from both I-81 and I-476 from just ONE of our many projects), water can't be absorbed into the ground and becomes excess runoff. This same problem has caused water runoff woes to people in our township as well when a new 50-unit subdivision called Horizon Estates clear-cutted a hilltop near Oak Street. This is exactly what happens when you have three seemingly high school dropout caliber people running your community.

I wish you the best of luck in your community's efforts against the water runoff woes and the mandated HOA, but I wouldn't be too optimistic. Local elected officials tend to bend over backwards for housing developers in order to lure in new taxpayers until the new planned community is completed, at which point they couldn't care less about the quality-of-life concerns these new taxpaying residents bring to the council podium.
 
Old 08-18-2007, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Drums, PA
7 posts, read 39,647 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Local elected officials tend to bend over backwards for housing developers in order to lure in new taxpayers until the new planned community is completed, at which point they couldn't care less about the quality-of-life concerns these new taxpaying residents bring to the council podium.
Pretty much the deal, yes. This is why we and the neighbors are ramping up our efforts, including contacting local media outlets in WB and Allentown.

I think I'm familiar with the mess in Pittston. That antique store is next to a music store, yes? I cut throught the back alley on my return trips from Tunkhannock every other weekend and see the cavity. And I do see the similarities between Pittston and the Hazleton/Mountaintop area, with their attempts to lure in the industrial sector.

Just wait till the proposed high-speed rail line becomes a reality.. you think it's bad now. The yocal representatives will soon be out of their league in dealing with city lawyers and engineers.
 
Old 06-11-2008, 08:40 AM
 
1 posts, read 6,461 times
Reputation: 10
Default Jack Palance

FYI: Jack was born in Lattimer Mines, not Drums. He owned property in Drums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FivePointsGolf View Post
This little town at the intersection of routes 80 and 81 has grown up quite a bit in the short 4 years since we moved up from Philly. No wonder, given its location and local efforts to attract industry from N. Jersey and NYC. The birthplace of Jack Palance has been resurrected due to its proximity to both New York and Philadelphia (each approx. 1.5 hours' drive), the impending PA casinos and explosion in available jobs (mostly in manufacturing segment, but also growing commercially). Just as importantly, it is located west of the Poconos "proper"; the old honeymoon/resort havens near Lake Wallenpaupack. Because of this, property values have been more protected.

But this post does not concern the supremely livable conditions of our quaint mountain town. I've registered and am posting to express my opinions about Tuskes Homes, the developer of the Sand Springs Golf Community where we settled exactly 4 years ago.

By all accounts, Tuskes builds a nice home. I work in the building materials industry, so I am familiar with some of the practices of builders to save money and influence local codes toward that purpose. Examples include joists and trusses being laid 24" on-center (rather than 16"), using OSB instead of plywood and the seemingly-standard 2x4" studs on exterior walls. Tuskes has not conformed to these lower standards, thankfully. We love our home.

But here's the rub: once you buy from Tuskes Homes, you are at their mercy. Recently, all residents of our community received a letter from a property-management group informing us that we all now belong to a homeowners association, along with the obligatory bill for dues. Nevermind that nowhere in our contracts does it state that we would be required to join an association: if we did not pay, we faced possible liens on our properties. Initial attempts to reach Tuskes to discuss the matter were largely ignored by the builder. Not until the homeowners united (in essence, forming an association), did we get attention. The collection of dues has been delayed, but the HOA will be imposed. Surprisingly, Pennsylvania laws are on the side of the builder. We will be required to join or face a lien or be forced to move.

More recently, and more importantly to us, is an issue that effects the property value of our home and that of our next-door neighbor. Not listed in the development plans, Tuskes began construction of a water tower directly across the street on a hillside facing our property. Nevermind the unsightliness of the thing-- that's actually not the concern. It's this: they cleared trees and land for its construction last fall and this Spring's rains revealed a serious flaw: there is not adequate drainage to accomodate the run-off of dirt and sediment. Subsequently, our property-- and that of our neighbor-- has been deluged by water and sediment. In May, a portion of my driveway collapsed where the run-off gathers. I immediately attempted to contact the builder, but never got closer than his secretary.

I have written 5 emails, sent a complaint to the PA attorney general and contacted my local congressional representative. All this is in motion as I type, but three months later, there has absolutely zero response from Tuskes to rectify the problem.

It's simple, really. Tuskes failed to provide a drain pipe beneath the driveway of the residence across the street, as they built that home with the intention of quick-sale prior to the construction of the water tower (no, the homeowner was not informed there would be a mammoth water tower in his back yard). Without the drain pipe, the water channels directly into my yard. My driveway collapsed, there's dirt and stone and clay everywhere in my yard and I have the added benefit of uncontrollable weed growth from all the seedlings that have naturally washed down every rain storm.

And Tuskes continues to ignore us.

It's easier to see than to describe. Have a look:

[URL="http://www.geocities.com/bp_mcmahon/waterdamage"]Tuskes Homes Fails to Provide Adequate Drainage[/URL]



Sorry for the rambling message-- I am doing everything in my power short of retaining an attorney (my last option) to rectify this problem. I have read posts in this forum from folks looking to relocate to the PA mountains and looking at Tuskes Homes. To the former, I say "good choice-- welcome!", but to the latter I caution: do so at your own risk.
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