As of our resident meeting of January 15th, 2013, and due to the hard work of Wade Achenbach, we have been able to attain the legal opinion of a top law firm concerning our legal options in relation to the Willows developer and Fischer Homes.
The most promising, although a reach, is the following:
“The Willows homeowners might have a possible cause of action under a theory of either promissory estoppel or constructive fraud regarding the construction of “production homes” in the Willows neighborhood, instead of “custom homes.” Promissory estoppel is especially difficult to prove under Indiana law, and while perhaps easier, constructive fraud will still require showing a substantial difference between custom and production homes. The most efficient use for either theory would likely be in negotiating with the developer.”
Like I said, it’s a stretch.
With that said, Neil Merrell and I met with Brad Kriner, Division Manager and Erin Hundley, Sales Manager of Fischer Homes on Monday, June 24th, 2013. In the meeting Neil and I made it abundantly clear that the residents of the Willows, in particular the custom home residents, wanted to address the over building of the “Keller” model (as well as a number of other cosmetic issues – i.e., the flags in at the front entrance). As expected, Kriner and Hundley took the Fischer stand that they were within the “Fischer monotony code”. Neil and I stressed that that code was meaningless and they intentionally violated it by putting two Keller homes next to each other. They acknowledged this was a bad decision in hind sight. Besides stressing the monotony code we continually emphasized the desire to increase the aesthetics and variety of homes available in the neighborhood. Just changing the elevations didn’t differentiate the homes enough. Fischer’s response was that they only have 5 floor plans available to build in the Westbury section and the Keller is the most popular.
After an hour of going back and forth, first pushing our position and then listening to theirs, it was clear that a decision was not going to be made at that time and that they would have to go back to their team to discuss what options Fischer is willing to offer the residents of the Willows.
Neil and I are scheduled to meet with them again on July 16th to learn of their plans. It is our hope that Fischer is will to work with the residents of the Willows and offer a resolution that will appease the concerns of the community. Upon the conclusion of our meeting of July 16th, we will schedule another resident meeting to discuss what the residents feel the next step(s) should be.
On a side note concerning the developer, we have learned that in-order to start the HOA at least 90% of the lots have to be sold. We are still investigating the delegation of voting rights of lots that have been purchased but not yet improved (home constructed). This brings into account the lots owned by Fischer and Ryland that have yet to be built on.
If you have any other comments/complaints/suggestions etc. please feel free to contact Tim Cramer or Neil Merrell or leave a comment.