Residents take issue with community sign restrictions
The housing recession has been going on for almost four years, and Sun City homeowners and the developer are feeling the effects. And they are butting heads.
Pulte Homes is working to sell remaining new-home lots (which they say is less than 25), and the nearly 200 Sun City homeowners looking to sell may be subject to administrative regulations and enforcement actions that may impact their success in selling. The issue focuses on signs advertising homes for sale, along with those promoting neighborhood activities.
Resident Pete Weber has launched a crusade to try to do something about it.
Weber believes Pulte, seeking to complete a buildout that was scheduled to be completed before now, thinks that homeowner open house signs at the Del Webb entrances and major intersections paint a negative picture of Sun City. They and the Sun City Community Association have stepped up a campaign to remove such signs from cars and streets. Homeowners cry foul, saying such actions are unfair and perhaps illegal.
In a letter to the editor published in its entirety on page 2, Weber criticizes Pulte for making itself an exception to its rule.
“It’s okay for the developer to erect their big permanent signs on the parkways, but let’s make sure the residents don’t destroy the beauty of the neighborhood with those pesky little arrow signs for a few hours,” Weber states in the letter.
“Instead of hiring people to hinder residents trying to sell a house, we should hire someone to go to local community commerce fairs to promote the Del Webb lifestyle,” Weber also states in the letter.
In a letter to the Sun City Board of Directors last year, Weber said there were 182 single family units then for sale, of which just 17 were under contract. The length of time on the market continues to increase.
“If you’re 50 and would like to purchase a larger unit, you’re forced to wait or go elsewhere, since Pulte has only smaller units available,” Weber said. “Sellers with a sense of urgency are driving prices down. Sellers in age-restricted communities generally have a more pressing need to sell than those in more traditional neighborhoods.”
In an email last year to Weber from Sun City board member Harry Leopold, who is also a village trustee, Leopold reportedly said, “I have no problem with open house signs for a limited time on Sunday afternoons.”
The sign issue has spilled over into other neighborhood activities. A representative of Huntley Realty reported on May 15 that a homeowner put up signs on Route 47 near the Sun City entrance directing motorists to an estate sale in the community. The signs were not located on Sun City property. A representative of The Community Association showed up and “got into a heated exchange” with the homeowner about the signs and the number of cars parked on a public street.
Enforcement of the sign restrictions also affected a recent charity food drive in Neighborhood 12. According to neighborhood president Jerry LeBonte, signs on every intersection in the neighborhood were ordered to be removed by a young man hired by the association to enforce sign rules.
“The kid not only made us take them down, but he took pictures of the address of the home where the estate sale was being held,” LeBonte said. “I don’t agree with the sign rule, but I understand why they are enforcing it. What really made me angry was the taking of a picture, like a police lineup. This was a charitable event, not commerce as in the sale of a home. Can’t exceptions be made for such events?”
Last summer, James Williams, a village administrator, reportedly said the Village of Huntley has an ordinance that says, “portable signs of any type, for the primary purpose of displaying a sign, are prohibited on vehicles.”
He reportedly said, however, that enforcement of it has not been consistent. Weber has also questioned whether Sun City’s board can approve a rule that is in conflict with a village ordinance.
“I sent letters to the board last year proposing to at least let open house signs be allowed on Sunday, and at one point Leopold said he would support it. But it went nowhere,” Weber said. “Pulte and Del Webb, as original developers, are responsible for the covenants governing the Sun City property. Wentworth (CAM) is chartered with the enforcement.”
Spokespersons for the association and Wentworth Management Co. were not available for comment before the time this article went to print, but the Sun Day intends to report their side of the issue for the paper’s next edition.