A home under construction at 32 Canyon Creek Dr., Gilbertsville PA, sits unfinished between already completed properties.

A home under construction at 342 Canyon Creek Rd., Gilbertsville PA, sits unfinished between already completed properties.

Plastic sheeting protects a finished stairway at 342 Canyon Creek Rd., Gilbertsville, from the elements, even though the doorway and some windows are wide open.

Plastic sheeting protects a finished interior stairway from the elements, even though the doorway and some windows are wide open.

GILBERTSVILLE PA – A property owner on Canyon Creek Road in the Kingston Hill development, less than a half-mile north of the Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township border, busily erected an ornamental stone wall outside his front porch early Sunday (April 26, 2009) morning. As neighbors passed by – some walking a dog, some just out for a stroll – they stopped to chat, and the current controversy involving their home builder was the sole topic of conversation.

The public, and specifically thousands of families who bought homes in recent years from Harleysville-based TH Properties (THP), are wondering what their next move can be since the company announced last week it was suspending business operations. Work has stopped on hundreds of homes under construction, including those at Kingston Hill, and some buyers have thousands of dollars tied up in deposits and escrow accounts.

  • Speaking out. Representatives of Kingston Hill residents plan to attend tonight’s meeting (Monday, April 27, 2009) of the New Hanover (PA) Township Board of Supervisors to air their concerns and seek township help. Spokespersons for the group apparently were selected yesterday.
  • First-known local municipal action. The Limerick (PA) Township Board of Supervisors voted Thursday (April 23, 2009) to proceed against a THP maintenance bond for completion of sidewalks and other public improvements at the company’s Crosswinds II residential development within Limerick, WhatsThe422.com reported. If THP does not finish the work as required by May 19, the bonding agent will be asked to step in and hire others to finish.

THP principals, brothers Todd and Timothy Hendricks, claim the suspension is only temporary as they actively seek to restructure their business. The company held a press conference Friday (April 24, 2009) to address the public outcry and assure buyers and prospects it was attempting to return.

  • Put on the spot. During the press conference, Todd Hendricks declined to discuss specific cases when asked by a buyer, whose home is not yet started, how he could get his deposit back, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. It quoted a bankruptcy lawyer who suggested those with money being held by THP might find it difficult to recoup if the company files for bankruptcy protection.

But in the Coddington View development off Farmington Avenue in Upper Pottsgrove (PA) Township, which lies within the Pottsgrove School District, people who live there said during the weekend they doubted it would happen. Despite assurances from township officials that trash pick-ups would continue and their community’s streets would be satisfactorily finished, they say they feel abandoned.

  • Getting together. Residents of Coddington View have scheduled a meeting for tonight (Monday, April 27, 2009) at 7 p.m. in Pottstown Middle School, 600 N. Franklin St., Pottstown PA, to discuss concerns in advance of the Upper Pottsgrove (PA) Township Board of Commissioners’ meeting of May 4.
  • School district effects? Coddington View is among developments the school district had expected to generate more elementary school enrollments. One taxpayer who has religiously attended district Board of Education meetings regarding renovations to and expansion of Ringing Rocks Elementary School openly wondered Saturday (April 25, 2009) if that building’s need for more classrooms would be affected by THP’s troubles. “Probably not. Somebody else’ll pick it up,” the taxpayer said.

Inside Kingston Hill, one or two infill houses sit unfinished on lots sandwiched between already completed homes with immaculately manicured lawns. Property owners there worried about declining and lost home value, and their future ability to re-sell.

  • Holding out hope. There continued to be rampant speculation during the weekend at WheresBuilder.com, a chat website set up for owners of THP homes, over the prospects of THP’s acquisition by Haines and Kibblehouse (H&K Group), one of its creditors and itself a Pennsylvania company with wide-ranging construction interests. H&K Group has not responded or issued a statement.