Pulte Homes delays residents' takeover of Sun City

July 23, 2008 

Sun City Hilton Head residents eager to take control of their community were dealt another blow last week when developer Pulte Homes said it would not turn over the reins until the community is completely developed.

That announcement, in a memo distributed to the community association's board members after their closed bi-monthly meeting July 14, is a change from previous plans that would have given residents control after 90 percent of the homes were built and sold.

"They are going to be here until the last nail is driven and the last house is sold," said resident board member Wes Grady.

Grady, who recently has helped lead an effort to incorporate Sun City, said under the 90 percent build-out policy, residents expected the transition to occur within four years. Now, it could take at least seven years, he said.

Grady said resident control of the association is important for decision-making, including choices on management and contracts.

Pulte took a 4-3 majority control of the association's seven-member board in January by replacing two resident members with its own employees.

Then in March, the Pulte-controlled board voted to disband the transition team, an eight-member group of resident volunteers who had been preparing for resident control.

In addition to the new transition policy, Pulte made another change last week. It now can replace any member for disclosing board information publicly when it's not legally necessary, among other things.

Pulte has built 6,600 homes in Sun City and plans to build 8,200, meaning it has built about 80 percent of the planned homes. On Tuesday, Pulte Homes general manager Jon Cherry said he didn't know when all the planned homes would be built.

He defended the decision to delay the transition.

"At 90 percent build-out, we'd still have 810 lots remaining," Cherry said. "We can't not have a seat at the table with 800-plus lots remaining."

Grady said the issues of transition and board leadership are not on the agenda for a board meeting Thursday. But residents are allowed to ask questions and voice concerns at the end of the meeting, he said.

The other two resident board members, Barbara Lenta and Clifford Hudsick, could not be reached for comment.

IF YOU GO

• What: Sun City Hilton Head Community Association Board of Directors' quarterly meeting. The meeting is open to all Sun City residents.

• When: 10 a.m. Thursday

• Where: Pinckney Hall

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