Seems like a PERFECT time for a vacation

Your business is tanking.

You’re selling your real estate office by Grafton Common.

You’ve put your home on the market for $3.5 million.

You have at least three unfinished neighborhoods, one in the town in which you grew up, and the towns and residents there would like to know just what you plan to do about them now that the real estate bubble has popped.

Isn’t this the perfect time for a vacation?

Topic for the day: Jon LeClaire was “on vacation” and too busy to attend the Planning Board public hearing last night on Cortland Manor, for which he has asked an extension of the building permit. Neither he nor a representative showed at the last Planning Board hearing, so this was an extension. The representative from the engineering firm that he did send was rather vague on details.

LeClaire sent this letter to the Planning Board (dated Feb. 20, just days before the hearing) which got them all riled up:

Dear Steve,

After receiving comments back from Graves Engineering and Graz Engineering, I do acknowledge that the swale needs to be installed from pond #23, when the weather permits.

Also as for snowplowing and sanding it is done when the town does their own roads. Certain areas do not get sun so it does not melt as fast as other areas. Pot holes will be repaired when the weather permits.

The light senor switch on the light pole at White Birch has had a repair order called in.

Catch basins and retention basins will be repaired when the weather permits.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Jon R. LeClaire
LeClaire Builders Inc.

The Planning Board has requested that LeClaire show up in person on March 9 to answer their questions, or they will begin default proceedings, a six month process that will allow the town to collect the bond, finish the roads and make necessary repairs to the drainage basin that’s flooding out abutters on Millbury Street.

You know, when I look back on all the research we did before hiring LeClaire to build our house, I still can’t figure out where we went wrong. I looked at the zoning maps, checked for conservation areas, talked to people in the Planning Department about the builder, talked to people who had built with him. We opted for the guy who lived in town rather than a national builder and felt reassured that his name was plastered on Little League fields and donor lists — this was a guy who supported his community.

And, all told, it’s a fine house. The street’s starting to crumble and there’s a denuded hill with a driveway to nowhere, snow plowing’s nowhere near what it used to be and the retention basin apparently isn’t retaining, but it’s a fine house.

Wonder where he’s vacationing?

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7 thoughts on “Seems like a PERFECT time for a vacation

  1. I wouldn’t second-guess yourselves too much, Jenn… it seems to me like you guys “did your due diligence,” as they say, and there was every indication that LeClaire was a solid, reputable local builder who would be sticking around. The recent real estate crash really hurt everyone… Ouch.

    I guess we got lucky, in a sense. After viewing a few homes in Grafton one weekend and hearing the name “LeClaire” a few times, out of curiosity, we walked into the Grafton Common office without an appointment to see what they had for sale. The LeClaire real estate agent (a guy) turned us off so much that we didn’t pursue it further. The very next day, our buyers’ agent showed us another house (not a LeClaire) and we bought it.

    I think the Planning Board needs to get tough on LeClaire now, and request that he answer directly for the unfinished issues in and around your neighborhood. There’s really no excuse, IMO.

  2. This is my favorite sentence in the letter: “Certain areas do not get sun so it does not melt as fast as other areas.”

    Yes, Jon. We’re well aware of that. That’s why we put salt down… and do a good enough job of clearing away snow in the first place so it doesn’t ice up!

  3. We went with one of the national builders in town 7 years ago. We have different issues that are/have been extremely frustrating. When I talk to my friends who built with other builders they mention other issues they have had. Builders have an incredible talent for being snide when they make excuses.

    I’m happy with my house and if I ever build again, I know that I’m likely to have other issues. It goes with the territory. There’s no point in beating yourself up over it, you made the best decision with the information you had at the time.

  4. If it’s any consolation, my house was built by a local builder in 1830 and we have issues. But, it was the best deal around and charming. So, I live with the issues.

  5. Best comment was from the engineering representative, “Well, the vacation was planned.” Hmm is the notice of extension hearing dates known several months if not a year in advance??? Don’t ya think Mr. Leclaire could of delayed his vacation to attend the original meeting in the first part of February. Or at the very least planned ahead and made sure someone with more than a ounce of knowledge regarding the project could of been representing Leclaire builders.

    I am starting to see why his businesses tanked. I don’t think it was all about the real estate bubble bursting. Part of this is Karma.

  6. I would like to take this opportunity to promote container living. Its a great idea..you recycle old tanker ship containers into actual homes (I’d post a link, but you can just google it)! Not only are you doing good for the environment, but I’m sure that because there are less working parts…there are also less problems. Reduce your carbon footprint, live in a container!

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