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Tucker Talks – Episode 3

Tucker Omohundro Interview –  Tucker Talks about how the POA can make purchasing a POA lot difficult – episode 3 of a 4 part series.

Note:  This article is third in the series of “Tucker Talks”.  Please refer to episodes one and two for the background on this article.

As we sat around the table in Tucker and Carol’s beautiful nook in their kitchen, Tucker continued talking, this time about his third Facebook comment, which addressed the issue of the difficulty in purchasing a POA lot.

Tucker stated, “The first part of the last Facebook post I made was about when I had tried to buy a lot for a customer, from the POA.  I dealt with the POA for months. After having trouble buying a lot from the POA, I finally went and told them I was going to buy a different lot.”

Tucker explained, “The POA wanted $2,500 for a particular lot and I told them, ‘guys, if I was building this house for a profit and this was a spec home, I could understand that.  However, I can go out and get lots for less. The client wants a secluded lot, and they are a dime a dozen’.”

Tucker said, “Well, I found another lot.  The client liked it and the POA had one right next to it.  The road was paved. So, I assumed the utilities were in. I called the POA to make an offer.  I have had a good working relationship with the POA for 30 years.”

“I said, ‘I want to buy this POA-owned lot if you guys will sell it to me for a thousand dollars.  Originally, we chose the lot next door, but I really think the POA lot is a little better’. The original (non-POA) lot was priced at $1,000.”

The POA comes back with, “It’s not for sale.”

Tucker explained the circumstances, “The client had a tight budget.” (Tucker did not make a profit when he finally built the house.  He built it for cost.)

POA said they couldn’t process building permit

Since the POA would not agree, Tucker bought the lot next to the POA lot and applied for a building permit.  The Permit and Inspection Department said, “Tucker, we cannot process this. There are no utilities running to this lot.” 

Tucker said, “Now I knew why the POA did not want to sell the other lot and had told me it wasn’t for sale. ”

The POA had to run utilities to the lot we purchased.

Tucker went on to explain that because of this, he became very unpopular with the POA.  They did not want to put in the utilities. “Well, they didn’t have a choice.”  

Water meter requirement

Tucker then went on to say that he is a co-owner of commercial property and that his partner made him aware that the POA notified them that they were going to be required to put a water meter on every building.  (These are storage/hobby shops.) 

Tucker went into POA office and said, “What’s up with the water meter deal?  I have several buildings over here. It is foolish.”

“We don’t even hit the minimum on five buildings on one meter.  It’s one lot.” I told the POA, “I am not in a good mood.”

The POA slid a piece of paper over to Tucker and said, “it says right there we can do that.”

Tucker said, “I don’t care about your papers.  I know what’s going on here. You guys are mad at me over the lot purchase where utilities hadn’t been run and you need to get over it, fast.  Because if you start trying to enforce this on me, it’s not going to be pleasant.”

The POA asked, “What do you mean by that?”

Here’s what could happen

Tucker said, “Here’s what’s going to happen.  The client is on a strict budget. I was trying to help the client out.  Because otherwise, the client couldn’t pull it off.”

Tucker continued, “I am not broke.  I do not build spec homes, but I will start tomorrow.  I will go down the biggest dirt road I can find in the Village and buy a lot. I will start a spec home on it.  I’ll get my real estate friend of mine to list it. I will get my money out of it. I will sell it cheap but break even.  After I sell that home, I will start another spec home. I will keep doing this process and cost you guys hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if you continue to try to force these issues.  You need to meet with the powers-that-be and resolve this issue. Please understand I will do what I say I will do.”

Tucker said, “The water meter deal went away.”

Fire hydrant installation

“Then they told me I had to pay for the installation of a fire hydrant at my commercial property.  I brought them the rules of the Village, which says you have to provide water to every lot.”

The POA said they make everyone else install hydrants.  Tucker said that wasn’t his problem. He was well-versed in the rules.  

Back to the building permit

Back to the permit for the lady’s house.  Permitting and Inspection told Tucker they would not process the permit.  By this time, Tucker had been working for months to purchase a lot so he could start building the house.

He went upstairs to talk to Linda Mayhood, who he said he got along well with for many years.  Linda was not in the office.

Tucker told the secretary he needed to talk to somebody because “they are telling me they are not going to process this permit and I am planning on breaking ground next Thursday.”

hot springs village poa administration building
Hot Springs Village POA Administration Building

The CEO was standing there and told Tucker that they won’t process the permit because they wanted him to try to get another lot.”

Tucker said, “That’s not going to happen.  I own the lot. I don’t want another lot. So, process the permit.”

Tucker said the CEO replied they were not going to process the permit.

Process the permit

Tucker said, “I don’t care if you do or not. Next Thursday there is going to be equipment on that lot.  Trees are coming down. With or without a permit. I turned in everything. Unless I have done something incorrectly, you either process the permit or you don’t.  I don’t care. When I get ready to dig the footings, I will call for an inspection. If you guys want to come to inspect, fine. If you don’t, I don’t care. But I am starting…”

Tucker said the CEO replied that he had better not do this.

Tucker said, “You can talk to my attorney.  I don’t care. If you want to see it happen, be out there next Thursday.”

Permitting and Inspection called Tucker Friday afternoon to let him know they were processing his permit.

“That’s the kind of stuff they do.  It’s a control thing.”

“In the comments on my Facebook post, the CEO said she didn’t know anything about any of this.  This was not true as the conversation I stated above clearly shows she was aware.”

POA wouldn’t trade lots even to save $75,000

Tucker was working with a couple that showed Tucker their lot. Upon seeing the lot, Tucker realized that the lot was not a good choice for building for two reasons. First, Tucker felt like the lot would be difficult to build on.  Secondly, the lot was located “in the middle of nowhere. The utilities were about a mile away”.  

So, Tucker called the POA and said, ‘I have some clients and we need to get them to trade lots.  We don’t want to put utilities in for this lot if we don’t have to and I really don’t want to build on this lot.”

POA Cutting off nose to spite their own face

The POA told Tucker to call Village Homes and Land.  Tucker told Village Homes and Land, “I have some clients that we need to get into another lot, other than the one they own.   They are open to this option, even though they love the lot they already own. I told them we needed to try and find a different lot.”

Village Homes and Land said the clients could trade lots, but if the lot was better than the lot they already own, the couple would have to pay the difference.

Tucker said, “So we’re going to make people pay an extra thousand dollars to buy a lot when they are actually happy with the lot they already own?  Even though, it’s in our best interests to offer them a different lot as it will probably save us $75,000 or more.” At this point, I told the people if they wanted to build there, do it.

Tucker’s third Facebook post

This will be truth, not opinion. For those who do not know me, I am a builder. A few years back, I was searching for an economical lot for a client. I went to the POA because I wanted to purchase a lot that dues were not being paid on. I found one, and they gave me a price. Their offer might have seemed fair for someone that does not know the market. Well, I do. So, I made them a counteroffer, that in my opinion, was based on current market values, and was turned down. So, I went to someone I know at the POA and explained that I was searching for a client. I further explained that if my client found a lot that did not have utilities, it could get real expensive on us (POA). They totally agreed. They still held to the price. I found another lot my client liked better and asked for a price on it. I was informed it was not for sale. Confused I explained that my client liked the lot next door, and I had already made a deal contingent on the POA accepting my offer on the lot they preferred. Still not for sale. So, I purchased the lot next door and applied for a permit. I was then told the lot did not have utilities. This was a surprise to me as the street had been paved. Well, that explained why the other lot was not for sale. Oops. I was then told the permit would be held up. I explained that I was going to start construction on the day the permit should have been released. Of course, I was told not to. The rest was just a bit comical but not relevant. From what I was told, and it sounds correct to me, it cost $15,000 to put in the utilities, and I am not sure about the streets that had to be repaved. If it would have been anyone else making this decision, they would have elected to save the $15,000.00 plus paving, but it’s not their money. It’s ours. FYI….the price on the lot was $1500.00 off what they wanted.

I was working with a another client that had a lot with no utilities, and in my opinion, was not a lot anyone should build on. I told the client that this might be their lucky day. I could get them a better lot at no cost and that would save the POA a lot of money. They were hesitant because they wanted to build on the lot. I called the POA and was directed to the real estate office. I explained the situation to her. She quickly informed me that if the lot they picked was better than the one they had, they would have to pay the difference. After trying to explain the cost related to this lot with no success, I told the people to build on their own lot. The expense to put in utilities cost more than the lot change. Again, we have people making bad decisions with our money. According to the CEO in an article posted in the Village Voice, it would cost close to $600,000 to install these utilities to the two CCI homes, that I permitted. My client’s lot was approximately the same distance to run utilities too as the CCI lots. If that’s the case, doesn’t it make more sense to lose a little gain on a lot versus putting in utilities? Of course, I never personally asked her how much it would cost, so I really have no clue.

I have developed many subdivisions in this village working for Cooper. Utilities to subdivisions with 100 lots do not cost $600,000. Just another lie to make Cooper look bad.

I think I am finished now. (Maybe)

[Editor’s clarification: “May not be the truth” is in reference to Tucker’s comment that he thinks he is finished now.  He means he may have more to say.]” If I were a betting woman, I would bet he does.

Click here to read episode one

Click here to read episode two

Click here to read episode four

Written by Cheryl Dowden

Photography by Joseph Dowden

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