Bewildered Mountain Gate residents packed the Clark Memorial Clubhouse, in Clarkdale Feb. 19, to find out what is happening to the new home community that builders and company officials have apparently abandoned.
Reporters were not allowed to attend the meeting.
“This is an association meeting. It is not for the public or those who do not own homes here,” Community Association Manager Sarah Crawford of the Homeowners Association Management Company of Prescott said to the Cottonwood Journal Extra.
Clarkdale Town Councilwoman Pat Williams said the Town Council offered the clubhouse to Mountain Gate residents to meet in.
Before the meeting, resident Scott Jones said he had no knowledge of what Empire Companies planned to do about finishing the project. Empire is Mountain Gate’s developer.
“I saw people working on road drains, curbs and sidewalks about a month ago,” Jones said. “They seemed to be buttoning things up as if they were going away for awhile.”
Clarkdale Public Works Director Steve Burroughs helped set up chairs for the meeting’s overflow crowd.
Burroughs said he hasn’t heard anything about Empire’s bankruptcy status either.
After the meeting, Mountain Gate resident Cynthia Schroder said there has been absolutely no communication from Empire to Mountain Gate residents.
“They don’t respond to calls,” she said.
“The meeting made me feel worse. My roof leaks every time it rains. We have to pay for everything ourselves,” said Schroder, a teacher at Yavapai College who has lived at Mountain Gate since October 2006 and was one of the community’s first residents.
“I’m quite upset. We have a lot of issues with our homes and the homeowner’s association is under Empire’s control. They didn’t tell us anything. We’re paying homeowners’ fees and we don’t have any say,” Schroder said.
Another resident, who asked not to be identified due to unresolved homeowner’s issues, said the meeting was neither helpful nor informative.
In addition to construction problems, unfinished homes and the uncertainty surrounding Empire Companies, some residents such as Schroder have liens on their homes due to the fact that some contractors have not been paid for their work.
“Whole streets are empty,” resident Andrea Smith said. “One thing that’s great is we don’t have anyone behind us and it looks like it could stay that way for awhile.”
“It is apparent to the town of Clarkdale that no Empire employees are present at the Mountain Gate site,” Clarkdale town attorney Robert Pecharich wrote in a Feb. 4 letter to Empire Companies’ legal counsel in Los Angeles. “Empire and their contractors pulled off this working job site hastily, and left numerous hazards in their wake.”