A piece of land in Mill Valley is going back to the developer.
In 2018, Pulte Homes, developer for the neighborhood, deeded two parcels, totaling 1.97 acres, in the Mill Valley North subdivision where the pool is located to the city.
City Law Director Tim Aslaner said the land did not really belong to the city and transfer wasn’t valid because the city never voted to accept the land. In fact, he said the city didn’t know Pulte tried to give them the land until earlier this year.
At Monday evening’s city council meeting, the body agreed to file an affidavit of facts denying the transfer of two parcels of land that had been deeded to the city.
A conflict between the homeowners and the homeowners association and its management company has complicated the matter. Residents in that section of the subdivision pay extra to the homeowners association for the operation of the private pool. This year, the fee has been taken, but the pool was not reopened. Homeowners in the area said the homeowners association should have been turned over to a board of actual homeowners, but never was. Residents said they tried to contact the homeowners association and its management company to discuss concerns, but have gotten nowhere.
Several frustrated homeowners asked council to hold off on giving the land back to Pulte until they had formed a new homeowners association made up of actual home owners in the neighborhood.
Aslaner had said he could try to leverage Pulte officials into creating a new homeowners association or at least having the current management company work with homeowners, but since the land didn’t really belong to the city, there wasn’t much the city could do. He urged city officials to get the land back to Pulte as soon as possible.
Council member Aaron J. Carpenter, who represents the Mill Valley neighborhood, initially opposed transferring the land back to Pulte, though ultimately voted to support the legislation. He said he understands the issue and that homeowners have been unable to meet to form a new homeowners association. Before his vote, Carpenter asked Aslaner if there was a way to conditionally return the land to Pulte, then give it to a new homeowners association when it is formed.
Aslaner said his position all along has been the land is really Pulte’s and needs to be reverted back.
“We don’t have authority to do anything else,” Aslaner said, adding that what Pulte does with its own land is, “completely out of the city’s control.”
Carpenter said he understood and wanted a way to help the residents who were, “upset that the pool wasn’t opened.”
That was not the only property issue council dealt with.
Council heard from Jessica Harmon, of 1234 St. Andrews Court. She said she and her husband had built their dream home. She said her husband recently had his pay cut and they would likely need to sell the home.
She asked council for help dealing with a problem at the home. She said that when the home was built, it was elevated about seven inches to help deal with drainage in the area. To help with the drainage, the builder was to create a path for drainage to go to a ditch. That was not done, however. City officials have not given final approval for the home. Additionally, the water has now caused problems for a neighbor on Boerger Road.
The neighbor has complained to the city numerous times about the drainage issues. Harmon said she worked with City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt to try to mitigate the problems. She said none of the solutions fixed the problem and now, “our neighbor would prefer we took the expensive route.”
The problem, she said, is that her family is barely holding onto the home and cannot afford an expensive fix like completing the project as the builder designed.
Hoyt told council that issues like this occur, “any time a subdivision is built among existing homes.”
He said the city approved the plans, but the home was not built to plan. He said he tried to find other alternatives for the homeowner, but ultimately the matter is between the buyer and the builder.
Council member Deb Groat said it is in the city’s best interest to help the homeowner.
Hoyt said that could “set a dangerous precedent.” He said this has not happened before.
Public Service Director Mike Andrako said the city needs to be careful because the affected neighbor could be at the next meeting if the city allows the situation to occur.
Groat said she would meet with the homeowner and city staff to see if there is a possible resolution for everyone.
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