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Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:13 PM


Centex Leaves Homebuyers High And Dry


When you buy a house in the middle of a desert it's best to make sure you have a supply of water. In this case, Centex is allegedly not honoring a promise to provide "brown water". Please consider Centex pullout may leave Liberty Ranch high and dry.

The 60 or so homeowners in Centex Corp.’s Liberty Ranch subdivision are concerned they won’t be able to water their lawns in the spring.

Centex has announced it is “winding down” its operations in Colorado. According to one resident, Centex notified Liberty Ranch homeowners about three months ago that it was going to stop building new homes in what was originally planned to be a 408-home development.

On Monday night, Centex representatives met with about 50 homeowners and told them it would not be building a “brown water” system that the homeowners say was promised.

That system would have allowed residents to use untreated ditch water to irrigate their properties. Longs Peak Water District, which provides treated water to residents, also is temporarily providing treated water to the homes for irrigation, but the irrigation water delivery will cease after this year, homeowners were told Monday night.

“We opted to continue running treated water into the irrigation system for the remainder of the summer to get folks by,” Barry Dykes, general manager of the water district, said Tuesday. “And, of course, we will continue to do that, but next year is a whole different animal. ... Frankly, we don’t have the capacity or the water to be able to do that on a regular basis.”

Dykes said he didn’t believe Centex had made a final decision not to build the brown water system, but “the implications are that they are not going to build it.”

To complete the system, he said, Centex would have to build an additional pipeline, a transfer pond and a pump station.

That would cost $700,000, Liberty Ranch homeowners were told Monday night, according to Shaundelle Delisa, who attended the meeting.
An Issue Of Trust

Why anyone thinks that watering the desert is a good idea in areas where water is in short supply is beyond me. But here it is: "Can you imagine what this will do to the value of our home?” [resident Brandon Knudsen] said. “One of my neighbors said, ‘I just put $20,000 into my backyard.’ And I just spent my summer, and $8,000, in my backyard. And for what?”

However, this goes far beyond a water problem for the 60 home owners in Liberty Ranch. The issue at hand is why anyone would want to buy a home from Centex or any other national builder that treats its customers this way.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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