Builder begins addressing Tall Timbers homeowners’ concerns

JACKSON — Homeowners living in the Tall Timbers development off Hyson Road, a community of 74 single-family homes, are finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Residents had been attempting, unsuccessfully, to have Benjamin Kirsch, who built their homes, address concerns including a faulty water drainage system, grading problems, the absence of shade trees that were promised and other complaints.

Many residents also have their own individual concerns of incompleted or faulty work; concerns such as the 5-foot-tall berm that lined 200 feet of Steve Palazzolla’s property on Applewood Court, or Andy Hreha’s basement on Meadowood Road, which had water in places where it never belonged since the year the house was built — 1997.

This week Michael Kelly, president of the Tall Timbers homeowners association, told the Tri-Town News that Kirsch has finally begun addressing at least the issues covered by a performance bond being held by the township.

Kelly said the amount of that performance bond is close to $500,000. He explained that Kirsch was told by township attorney Kevin Starkey that he had until April 1, 2001, to complete the work he was obligated to do or municipal officials would have to draw down on his bond, using those funds to complete whatever work had been left undone.

Starkey said he sent a letter to the bonding company, Frontier Insurance of Rock Hill, N.Y., informing the firm of the town’s intention to draw down the bond if necessary. Now, said Starkey, Kirsch is finally addressing the issues covered under the performance bond and "things seem to be improving."

"As long as the builder is working toward completing the work and satisfying the claims the residents have made, there is no need to draw down on the bond," the attorney said. "We will not, however, give up our rights to draw on that bond and will hold it until the work has been completed."

Kelly said the berm has finally been removed from Palazzolla’s property line and said the trees were pushed back to where they were supposed to be.

The detention basin has finally been given a low-flow channel, which is something Kelly said he requested. He ex-plained that this channel creates a gully in the basin allowing the water to take the full width of the basin. Before, the basin was using less than half its capacity which had seriously impeded its ability to provide proper drainage for the homes.

Kelly said the builder is "making progress and seems to be doing a good job." There are still a number of concerns which need to be addressed, according to Kelly, issues that don’t fall under the bond’s contractual obligations such as grading difficulties.

— Clare M. Masi