Stop Building Crap!

That’s the power phrase that came out of an interview with Jon Harris, who owns a condominium in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. Five Points leaders tried for decades to turn around its image as a run-down part of the city. Back in the 20s and 30s it was the home of some of the best jazz clubs in the country. But as Denver expanded in all directions of the compass, Five Points was subjected to typical inner city decline.

Still, neighborhoods can be reborn and Five Points leaders have worked hard to try to make the neighborhood a showplace once again.

The problem is that they mandated higher density ‘affordable’ housing which meant developers were ordered to create Homeowner and Condo Associations. To encourage developers to build such high density housing the city loosened zoning regulations and inspections.

Condo owner Jon Harris desperately wanted to buy a quality home and live in a neighborhood rich in Colorado history. Now, he says, every condo in his complex is beset with construction defects. Meanwhile, the State Legislature is trying to pass a bill that would limit lawsuits against builders.

Harris says the legislation is wrong. The only right answer is for builders to “STOP BUILDING CRAP!”

Most of us could agree with that.

(link to KDVR-TV story on construction defects)


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

3 thoughts on “Stop Building Crap!

  1. Deborah Goonan

    CO and FL lobbies and local government officials seem to be reading from each others’ play books.

    If anyone ever makes a TV series out of the HOA/Condo scheme, here’s how the scirpt would read for the Planning and Development Commission and Mayor’s Council in Any Town in America:

    “Let’s permit developers to build housing as cheaply as possible, so that young millenials and retiring seniors can easily afford to buy them. We’ll give developers complete control of these HOAs right up until the statute of limitations runs out for construction defect claims, if possible. But in cases where that won’t work, because the developer has to walk away from the project, let’s make it expensive for HOAs to file defect claims, and impossible for any of those claims to stick! After all, if we don’t make it easy for developers to cut corners and dump the cost of repairs on future owners, we won’t be able to increase our urban empires and tax base to support our pet projects!”

    “Oh, and let’s label these development initiatives as ‘affordable’ and ‘sustainable.’ It sounds good, doesn’t it?”

    “After a few years, all those crappy condos and HOAs can generate business revenue for repairs and remodeling. And in 20-30 years, we can start the process all over again by declaring ‘blight’ and using federal funds for redevelopment!”

    Yeah, sounds like a plan.

  2. Nila Ridings

    AMEN, Deborah. You have written the perfect script for the city planners. That one should be sent to every legislator in the country because it’s clear and concise and 100% true!

  3. Deborah Goonan

    From the transcript:


    The Senator must be kidding! If anything, since this is how Arbirtrators make their living, a repeat client such as a Developer would be more likely to create bias rather than neutrality.

    And as the economist points out, mandatory pre-trial arbitration will do NOTHING to reduce the likelihood of construction defects – though it will certainly (if it becomes law) reduce the number of lawsuits brought against Developers, and reduce the likelihood that homeowners will be fully compensated for costs associated with defects.


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