Comments From Readers

Submitted 11/24/12: To the writer on 11/21/12 who is upset about the potential cheap townhomes that may be built by Weiland:  you’re wrong.  This is NOT our development as you state.  It is Wells Fargo’s development.  They are the Declarant, which means they have all the power.  Vickery residents have no actual vote or say in how the development is run – from the mowing of the grass to what’s built here.  The only voice we had was when the protests were held earlier this year.  Whether you liked them or not, they shut down Weiland’s sales – which led him to having a meeting with homeowners and his promise to upgrade the homes on Round Rd.  The protests have ended.  He knows that.  He won.

To answer the question as to why the people who were protesting and leading the charge against Weiland and Wells Fargo quit is quite simple:  there wasn’t enough neighborhood support to keep the fight going.  A handful of people cannot fight a bank and a builder on thier own.  Vickery is now gettng what it asked for.  If you’re not willing to stand up, be counted and fight for your community, the banks and developers will be glad to have their way.  The only option now is a lawsuit against Wells Fargo to force them to appoint Board members from the community to represent our interests, but the people of Vickery don’t seem to care.   You can go to the upcoming HOA annual meeting and scream all you want.  Read your Bylaws.  You have no power.  Wells Fargo knows that.  Sad, isn’t it?      

Submitted 11/21/12: Anyone know why Dan Garcia and all the rest of the Preserve Vickery supporters just vanished without a word???

Submitted 11/21/12: Well, Wieland has sold his company. http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2012/11/19/report-john-wieland-homes-and.html He is still building in Vickery and latest word is that he is going to be allowed to buy all of the lots on Bond St. across from the Crescent Townhomes from Rick Tanner’s all the way around to almost Vickery Creek. Rumor has it he is planning on putting in cheap housing, starting in the low $200Ks. He obviously is trying to stay afloat any way he can, which is more than likely what prompted this sale. We need to get answers from the Declarant at the annual homeowner’s meeting on 12/4. This is OUR development, our homes and we have a right to know if Wells Fargo and John Wieland intend to damage it further. I just wish he would find another development to destroy and leave us alone.

Submitted 6/2/12: I was one of the first groups of people to buy into the vision of Vickery and finally drove passed the houses on Cordery Rd. What a shame! They’re not “bad” houses, but they don’t belong in Vickery. I was told by VAC members that they were working with Wells and this would not happen. Looks to me like while the VAC was singing Kumbaya to Wells, Wieland was building 4 homes that should never have been built. Now he’s got holes dug for 5 or 6 more on Round Rd. It took a group of protesters to make enough noise to attract the attention of Mr. Wieland himself. You can bet that he would not have taken the time to meet with Vickery representatives if the protests were not affecting his sales. WAKE UP, Vickery! Instead of 8 or 10 people protesting, it should be 30! I’m glad that somebody has the guts to get out there and make some noise. Like it or not, that’s the only thing that will work to get changes made. We’ll see how the meeting went and if it will make any difference.

Submitted 5/26/12:l would like to get in contact with the gentleman that stopped to talk to us in the front of Vickery on Sat. in the red shirt and jeans regarding our discussion on the Ridenour. Please reply with your contact info and l will get it from the person that manages this blog. Thanks so much.

Submitted 5/27/12: These are very reasonable expectations! There is NO reason that Vickery can not be built out in the fashion in which it was created-to build all sizes of unique homes with character. l think anyone that bought in Vickery can remember the first time driving into the neighborhood in amazement at the setting where it felt different maybe i.e. places like Inman Park, Ansley Park, Grant Park and the likes of Virginia Highlands etc. lt was kind of “magical” like the first time one visits Rosemary Beach and Seaside. Not surprising the same designers had their mark on V. as well. Really good design speaks to you where as mediocre does not. lt shouts at you and you want to look away because there is no reason to look for the subtle movement of detail.

We have grown sons that live locally in 2 different very nice neighborhoods that were unique in their own right that feel on hard times like so many all over the area. Whoever was allowed to finish building their neighborhoods kept the look of the “original intent.” l am certain that if the builders that came into their neighborhood and started to build homes that stood out not in the same fashion the neighbors would have been concerned the same as we are and rightly so!

l kind of liken the situation to artists. When you see the work of a really good artist it is apparent to you —you feel it, you sense that this work is better than other work that you have seen before
and you know instinctively because it draws you in and you want to linger to enjoy it. lf JW finishes the 200+ homes in V. it will never be the same and the charm will be lost and never recovered. There is no earthly reason this should happen to Vickery unless “we the people” allow it.

Submitted 5/26/12: As an attorney with expereince in HOA litigation, I recommend you go through your Declaration with a microscope. The controlling covenants cut both ways, and a lot of large-scale builders are either faily uninformed or simply too arrogant whenit comes to enforcement. Looked at Creekside off bethelview many years ago and thought it was a nice neighborhood. Wonder why WH has gone downhill since then.
Good luck folks. While the law heavily favors the Declarant, it’s not hopeless. Thank David and Goliath.

Submitted 5/26/12: Very impressed you all are taking a stand for this cause. Far too often, people complain but do not take action. You action is getting noticed by the community at large, and I’m sure by Weiland and Wells. I would encourage you to picket directly in front of their sales offices, as well well as at the intersection. Once they feel it in their bottom line, the will respond.

Submitted 5/21/12: Saw you guys out yesterday!!!!! NO TO JW 

Submitted 5/20/12: Awesome job today. I drove by and saw the protest. I hope you are sucessful vs Wells

Submitted 5/20/12: Saw you guys on post rd today! Hope you are sucessful

Submitted 5/19/12: Some protesting at Vickery today!

Submitted 5/16/12:  Has anyone noticed the brick sample board for the house JW is building at the pond on Cordery Rd. This brick is what you see all over Atlanta in subdivisions built by Pulte, Peachtree, Ryland, Beazer, etc. If the residents of Vickery will not stand up now to preserve Vickery, then we will have no one else to blame but ourselves when it is all said and done.

Submitted 5/15/12:  Great idea on the yard signs

Submitted 5/15/12:  I was curious to see how JW would handle Round Rd….WOW…can you say treemageddon? I remember when I built my house in Vickery the orginal builder/developer was concerned with greenspace planning, our builder encouraged us to keep a few trees in our back yard. I guess JW thinks it is easier to put in the $1500 landscape package and destroy the nice beautiful trees on round rd. I guess round rd is just a glimpse of what JW has envisioned for Vickery…NOT GOOD PEOPLE

Submitted 5/10/12: So, no answer on the above inquiry from Wells Fargo….That silence speaks loudly!

Submitted 4/22/12: For Wells Fargo/Developer/Declarant:
What are the plans for the future parks in Vickery and will Greens Pond that remains incomplete be finished as shown on the Master Plan? Oxbo Park which is at the front of Oxbo Circle is in the path of JWH? How will this area be finished to support your previous statement that it is important for Vickery to to be maintained and thrive?

Submitted 4/22/12: To Lisa Jenkins regarding lot 389 it is the Donaldson which is already in at least 2 other Wieland neighborhoods if not more, and will also be built again on Round Rd. If you go to Wieland’s website you can see which one he is building and there is NOTHING that is architecturally interesting about this house. It will be another exterior siding house with a porch like the 3 others across the street and with the same roof line as them as well. If you look at the footings that were poured for this house, John Wieland will try to impress all of us by slapping brick or stone onto that house. Remember Wieland’s strategy for failed subdivisions is to “still clad with stone but typically only along the foundation or on the front elevation”.
I can guarantee you it won’t be any of the diverse styles in Vickery such as Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Carpenter Gothic, Greek Revival, Italian Villa, French Eclectic, or English Cottage. Another thing I can tell you with certainty is that the home won’t be designed by Lew Oliver. I’m pretty certain Lew Oliver did not design the Donaldson, Danbury, The Hampshire, the Stockten, etc. I’m also pretty certain Lew Oliver does not and will not have any John Wieland homes on his website. Hope this helps!

Submitted 4/22/12: Sad story.

Submitted 4/21/12:  Just a note of thanks to Bob Strader, real estate agent at The North Group for publishing a blog on Vickery which has received considerable attention.  If you have not seen the conversations occuring on his site – visit www.TheNorthGroup.com .  There are many people outside of our community wishing Vickery well in its fight to preserve the community and upset at the actions of Wells Fargo and Wieland.

Submitted 4/21/12:  Some research on Georgia law regarding the fiduciary responsibilities of HOA Board members turned up interesting information.  The following text is from a law firm website, explaining part of the law:

Community associations are usually formed as corporations under the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Act (“Act”), and the board is subject to the same duties as the directors for any other type of corporation. The homeowners are like the shareholders who have an interest in the corporation, while the board runs the association on their behalf. The board members are in an important position of trust, and therefore owe a fiduciary duty to the association. More specifically, Georgia law imposes a duty of good faith and a duty 0f care.   

Duty of Good Faith. The Act requires that “A director shall discharge his or her duties
…In a manner the director believes in good faith to be in the best interests of the corporation
.” In other words, a board member must act in the best interests of the association as a whole, and not in the board member’s own personal interests or the individual interests of a single homeowner. In a future article we will discuss the conflict of interest that can arise when a board member acts in their own interests.

I am not an attorney, but if the Vickery HOA is a Georgia Nonprofit corporation, then it would appear that our Board of Directors – appointed by Wells Fargo, is n violation of it’s fiduciary responsibilities to the homeowners of Vickery.  They are not acting in the best interests of the community as a whole, but rather, are acting in their own best interests by hooking up with Wieland – allowing him to build substandard housing that hurts the community in exchange for assistance in reducing their debt and sending mortgages to Wells Fargo through their joint venture mortgage company.   

I can’t imagine any judge not seeing a clear conflict of interest here.   If this is true, the people of Vickery are being played for fools while Wells Fargo and Wieland put money into their own pockets.

Submitted 4/20/12: If you write enough times to Wells Fargo you may be lucky enough to get a response from them. If you get a response it will look something like the response below. Note the part below where the representative mentions the thoughtful consideration that went into John Wieland as the chosen builder for Vickery. Based on that comment there seems to have been some type of selection process. Whatever formal selection criteria were used by Wells Fargo, out of all the builders that they considered (if any), it would seem that only John Wieland possessed those key qualification attributes that Wells Fargo was looking for.

Also note the part about the town urbanist. What the representative from Wells Fargo fails to mention is that Wells Fargo does not pay the town urbanist to design the Wieland homes, yet that part is conveniently left out. Lew Oliver only approves their designs. If Wells Fargo truly cared about Vickery, the process would be exactly the same as it is for Luxe, T-Olive and those families that are building currently in Vickery on non Wells Fargo lots. It is not exactly alike.

Ask any of them how detailed and laborious their process is with the town urbanist. This is how Wells Fargo is letting John Wieland get by in Vickery with the standard, non-custom plans that he builds in other subdivisions.

Now, don’t blink, because what is going to happen next is Lew Oliver will be roped into recommending what can be done to those standard John Wieland designs to make them more Vickery like. This will mean more stone, more brick and maybe even some ceder shingle siding. But if you blink during this shell game, you will miss the part where Lew Oliver could be hired by Wells Fargo to design the home and make it really fit into Vickery, like all of the other homes in Vickery. However, Wieland would never agree and this entire game would not play out.

The VAC that the Wells Fargo representative mentions has spent many hours letting Wells Fargo and Wieland know how badly they have missed the mark and therefore how off the so called equal design process is from a desired outcome. If the design process were exactly the same for Wieland as it is for everyone else, why did the VAC come up with many critical points that Wieland needed to fix, and, why was Wieland so shocked? If the process that is utilized by the town urbanist with other builders in Vickery is the same as with John Wieland, why did the neutral home owner group, the VAC, which has no authority by the way, still manage to come up with many concerns? Could it be that the processes are truly not the same? Here are some of the concerns the VAC gave to Wells Fargo and John Wieland:

T-Olive and Luxe builder’s price points and sales within the last 6 months
Current placement (massing) of Wieland spec homes on the lake lots
Current landscaping package of Wieland spec homes
Current architectural features of Wieland spec homes (e.i. shutters, flood lights, grading, garages, colors, absence of mixed materials and massing effects)
Plans for further homes on Cordery backing up to the lake
Street scape plans for Round Road
Street scape plans and designs for Oxbow Circle
The finishing of the end of Cordery Road

You will enjoy the letter below. You might also notice the person who is responding might be the Vickery declarant, Sean Stefan. Instead of indicating that he is happy to respond, his opening line shows his true posture, he is being forced to respond by his superiors. This seems to show that he may not really have Vickery’s best interest at heart. You decide.

—————————————
Thank you for your e-mail to Wells Fargo. I have been asked to respond to your concerns as the manager of Wells Fargo’s interests in the Vickery community.

We understand your concerns and appreciate your desire to preserve and enhance the value of Vickery. Please know that we share the same interests. We take seriously the look and feel of Vickery and we were thoughtful in our selection of John Wieland Homes as a builder in Vickery.

Wells Fargo has a very strong interest, both as a property owner and as steward of the homeowner’s association, in preserving the high standards of the Vickery community. I can assure you that John Wieland Homes has adhered to the Vickery Residential Design Guidelines and Approval Process and will continue to do so. To help ensure this, we have continued to engage Lew Oliver as Town Urbanist. I have an enclosed a letter he wrote last month that seeks to address your concerns. I would highlight this sentence: “Not only has John Wieland Homes abided by all of the regulations that are in place in Vickery, the designers and builders have never failed to fulfill additional requests from the Office of the Town Urbanist associated with delivering quality design and construction. The pre-design conference required, plan submittal, review, have all been professionally submitted and drawn, lawful, and within the established guidelines for Vickery.”

The guidelines Mr. Oliver references have not changed. Furthermore, we have had numerous discussions with the Vickery Advisory Committee, a body made up of and appointed by residents of the community, and we will continue to communicate with this group. Members of the committee have expressed their support for our management of the community. We value feedback from you and other homeowners. We would also urge you to bring your concerns to the advisory committee.

It is in everyone’s best interests that the standards of the Vickery community are maintained and that the community thrives. We are working toward that every day. Thank you again for communicating your concerns.

Submitted 4//15/12: A very valid concern Bob. Will Wieland complete the parks and green spaces as they are supposed to be completed? Actually WF is the developer so they should be fulfilling this responsibility. The fact is that one of the entities should. At the lot prices that Wieland is paying for the lots, there should be some funds for finishing all parks. I know that trees were requested to be planted around Greens Pond two years back and the answer was no from WF. Oxbo Park is an important gathering place. That park should be a space for gathering people which requires an environment that is suited for the need. If these important details are not continued in the original tradition, Vickery will lose its sense of place which it is so well known for.

Submitted 4/14/12: Despite letters, emails, a protest walk and pleas to Wells Fargo,  they continue to sell lots to Wieland to build subdivision homes in Vickery.  Wells obviously doesn’t care about its obligations to the “public at large” and the “community” as they say on their website.  It’s all just advertising.  They just want their money – and they want to protect their buddy Wieland so he can pay back all the money he owes them. 

Wells refuses to acknowledge that they have any obligation as the Declarant and as the Board of Directors to the people of Vickery.  The Board has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the people in the community who pay association dues.  They are only acting in the best interests of themselves.  There are laws that govern HOA’s in Georgia that are probably being violated by Wells.  It’s time to take legal action and let a judge decide if Wells is violating its fiduciary responsibilities in Vickery.  I’ve never understood why people say banks are basically evil.  I do now. 

Submitted 4/14/12: I am just sickened at the light blue house on lot 292. John Wieland says he is so proud of his construction and claims to build a “quality” product. Well how does he explain the dent in the front column gutter that has been there for a couple of months now since they damaged
it trying fix the tilted column? I hope he can explain the piece of missing trim above the porch that has never been fixed since the house was built! How can he explain the plastic gutter down spout splashes that are all around the house. Again do we live in Vickery or in Vickery Downs? You see none of us have the cheap plastic down spout splashes because our gutters go underground and feed to the street. So how does JW once again get away with dumbed down design plans in a once architecturally renowned neighborhood? Is this what you want in your neighborhood? I know I sure don’t.

Submitted 4/13/12: You know since JW has rights to the rest of the lots here in Vickery he should also have the responsibility to “fix-up” our broken landscape around the large pond and the Pulte looking island on Round Rd.

Submitted 4/13/12: I am a Landscape Designer who has been working in the Vickery surrounding area for 4 years.  I have watched with pleasure the concern for supberb architectual detail in the home design as well as the landscape design of the homes being built in Vickery Village.

I was at a client’s home last week for a meeting to plan the next phase of their landscape plan and was very disappointed to see the new home construction by John Wieland. The architectural designs and the materials chosen for the home construction and landscape are far below the standards used by the previous home builders. Many of the plant materials chosen for the new Wieland homes do not meet the requirments for size at maturity, sun or shade tolerance and water needs. The same plants have been chosen over and over again with no thought for individual creativity.

I support the efforts of the Vickery community to demand Wells Fargo and the Wieland Company to make the necessary upgrades in their future homes from tract homes to the quality and design of the original plan for Vickery Village. The investments made by the previous owners are surely in danger if the tract styles homes continue to be built.

Submitted 4/13/12: A Vickery neighbor said to me that she felt like as citizens we have already provided a bank bailout and now they are going to force the Vickery homeowners in to another bailout using their equity…Food for thought.

Submitted 4/13/12: Great news, John Wieland is performing some upgrades! Yes they weed wacked the sea of pine straw the other day and then threw more pine straw over the weeds. But wait it gets better, they are making the patio on the weird blue color house a usable rectangle instead of that alien planet pattern that they had before. Awesome! Wow that is Vickery alright.

Sumbitted 4/12/12:  Well it looks like house #4 is getting underway on coveted lot. This home will forever change the look of Vickery. With it’s cheap exterior facing the lake, this is what we will be forced to look at every time we take the left onto Lullwater. What a shame and as started early…a SHAM at our expense!

Submitted 4/8/12: In theory John Wieland is squeaking by the design guidelines that have been set forth by the Declarant. This speaks loudly to the differentiation in the first Declarant and the current Declarant. Squeaking by the design guidelines and embracing the principles of New Urbanism are two very different concepts.

John Wieland Homes has his own place in the building industry. His place is not in a New Urbanism neighborhood. It is quite obvious that there is no understanding and certainly no embracing of the principles that live in Vickery.

The Devil is in the Details. Every detail that makes Vickery what it is would be a mystery to a big box builder. Why are the roads narrow? Could you tell me what the mail box looked like from your last visit? No you cannot. That little detail is very intentional. The overall design of Vickery is an environment designed by a visionary. John Wieland may be a good builder, I would not really know. I do know that he builds subdivisions not neighborhoods. The differentiation in the two is huge. If he was embracing the principals of new urbanism he failed at designing the terminating vista from across Greens Pond. Let us see what the Congress for the New Urbanism can add to this debate. If their membership cares to comment, it is safe to say that Wieland will fall short in his strategy to “fix” Vickery, a “broken” subdivision. The reason Wieland admittedly finds building in “failed expensive neighborhoods”,” tricky”, is because his universal prescription for a misdiagnosed patient is “making homes smaller and cheaper”. John Wieland comments, “Wood roofs, a clear extravagance for production housing, were replaced by asphalt shingles”, in reference to Downtown Woodstock. It is clear that John Wieland does not understand new urbanism and does not intend to build in the prescribed manner that was at the heart of Vickery and other new urbanism communities.

We can fret over a house or 2 or 3. The real concern is the new urbanism principles that made Vickery the jewel of Forsyth County are being washed away with each and every tiny misrepresentation of the design guidelines. I for one will very much miss the legacy of Vickery if this happens.

The good fight is about purity in design and architecture, exquisite land planning and lastly the best execution to create a sense of place in a neighborhood.

Squeaking by is just not good enough.

 Submitted 4/4/12: I am glad I own a Hedgewood home. I would rather have one of theirs with no warranty vs a 100 year warranty from JW

Submitted 4/4/12: My wife and I purchased a home in Vickery due to its architecturally stunning homes and streetscapes unique to anything in Atlanta. Therefore, my question is why would Wells Fargo and John Wieland not want to continue to build homes that complement this award winning innovative community? Other builders are adding to the uniqueness of Vickery but are running out of lots. Our understanding is that Wells Fargo has an exclusive deal to sell all the remaining developed lots to John Wieland in order for him to build tract homes. This does not make any sense for two large corporations to act in a way that is detrimental to the home owners of Vickery. There are choices Wells Fargo and John Wieland have in this situation, and we will join with the concerned Vickery residents to pesuade these companies to make the right choice to protect and not harm this unique community

Submitted 4/4/12: Why would a builder be proud of building a cheap product?

Submitted 4/4/12: Vickery is awesome! Great place to live, work and play

Submitted 4/3/12: How can what is happening to Vickery not be a conflict of interest? Check out this article in Post and Courier, Charleston SC. (Google Bank, Wieland Team Up):

Bank, Wieland Team Up

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods Inc. have agreed to the terms of a joint venture to originate, process and fund mortgage loans for builder’s customers in Charleston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, N.C.; and Nashville, Tenn.

The joint venture, WFS Mortgage LLC, is co-owned by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, which locally builds and sells homes and develops communities such as Dunes West. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The joint venture will offer customers of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods a range of home financing products and services through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, one of the nation’s leading providers of residential financing and a division of Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods is currently building in more than 60 neighborhoods in its five markets. The company offers a variety of home styles from townhomes to single family, executive and estate homes priced from the $200,000s to more than $1 million.

“We are proud to be in this relationship with Wells Fargo,” said John Wieland, founder and chief executive of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods.

Submitted 4/3/12:  The only thing broke is the Wieland homes. He is building starter homes (if you don’t think so back out the lot price and divide by sq footage) You will be looking at Pulte and Beazer prices per sq foot prices……IN VICKERY.

Submitted 4/3/12:  I think the sprinkler was an upgrade in the Wieland landscape package.

Submited 4/3/12:  I am sure DPZ wouldn’t approve of the Wieland starter homes. I wonder if wieland plans to start building in Seaside, Alys, or Rosemary Beach next? I am sure those people who live in the DPZ communities would NOT stand for a tract builder to come build there.

Submitted 4/3/12: Great site whoever put it together. Time to stop the shady dealings of the big banks.

Submitted 4/3/12:  Yes, you are so right! l’m sure there are many other architectural students that have come through here to study and see the many amazing characteristics of Vickery. We also see many professional photographers using every nook and cranny to photograph families and recently Belk Dept. used Vickery for a commercial. Where else do you get this interest in a neighborhood besides other DPZ designed neighborhoods like Seaside, Rosemary and others. Thank you so much for expressing yourself and please let other fellow graduates/students know about what is happening to the residents that are so concerned of what lies ahead where the entire ambiance of our neighborhood could be changed forever and never recaptured once it is changed (a change we did not want)!! We are being used by JW and WF. lt is SO WRONG what they are doing to this beautiful place.

 
Submitted 4/2/12:  At university I visited Vickery and learned first hand what can be done if one puts ones heart and mind in sync with backbone. As a new architect, Vickery made me aspire to design in a way that accommodates beauty, function and economics, but also to leave room for tradition and legacy. I am saddened that Vickery is being attacked by Wells Fargo and John Wieland. There are very few places like it in the world, especially the new world. From afar I wish you all much success in your effort. Wells Fargo, please reconsider! Its not too late.
 
Submitted 4/2/12:  Wieland is like school in the summer time, no class. If Wieland cared he would at least take care of his new customers in Vickery. Wieland did not even bother to pick the weeds when he delivered his new customer their home in Vickery. The sea of pine straw visible from the street is full of weeds. We must also assume that the home did not come with rear sprinklers as the home owner has had to extend a water hose with a sprinkler in order to keep the little grass, that was graciously included, alive.
 
Submitted 4/2/12:  Excellent summary of our important meeting. The last minute turnout from our neighborhood just goes to show that we really do care about the future of Vickery! Neighbors , it is up to all of us to take a stance and turn the tides of Vickery to it’s original vision….a new urbanist community; not a tract home community like so many neighborhoods in the Atlanta area!
 
Submitted 4/2/12:  As a homebuilder, a Realtor and a lover of all things VIckery I appreciate the objective analysis that was presented at the 3/29 homeowner’s meeting. This is a special community made up of sticks and bricks…and a whole lot of heart!
 
Submitted 4/2/12:  Since Vickery is fully controlled by Wells Fargo, with no Vickery residents on the HOA Board of Directors or the Architectural Review Board, Vickery residents are “subjects” in a kingdom where many feel that their interests are not being protected by Wells Fargo – particularly since Wieland uses Wells Fargo as a preferred mortgage lender for its buyers.  A poem for the Vickery cause:
 
 “Kingdon Corruption” 
The Kingdom Wells Fargo insisted
– Despite how it’s subjects resisted
To allow substandard homes
– So it could get loans
From Wieland – in a realtionship twisted
 
 
Submitted 3/29/12:  The price per square foot argument is a waste of time and energy.  You can argue numbers all you like and it will simply lead to more arguments about numbers.  The REAL issue  Vickery faces is what our community will look like after Wieland builds 200 tract-style homes – and then leaves us all to deal with a “once upon a time” unique community.  The fight here is about the degradation of the architectural integrity of our community – not price per square foot.  The questions that must be asked deal with the relationship between Wieland and Wells Fargo; and what Wells Fargo owes the residents of Vickery since Wells, as the “Declarant”, collects our HOA dues, is in charge of the Board of Directors (no Vickery residents are on the Board) and is ultimately in charge of the Architectural Review Board.  It’s big-bank in collusion with big-builder against a small community.  As Declarant in Vickery, Wells Fargo should:
  • Be required to represent the interests of the community from which it collects HOA dues
  • Require that ALL builders in Vickery maintain the standards of the community
  • Allow the sale of lots to the many individuals and builders who have made offers on those lots – and not reserve them for Wieland.
  • Disclose the full relationship with Weiland – including the fact that Wells and Wieland have a relationship where Wells is the preferred lender on Wieland homes.
  • Appoint Vickery residents to the Board of Directors and Architectural Review Board so we have a say in how our money is spent and our community is developed.

There’s something very wrong here.  Wells seems to be in a conflict-of-interest situation in its obligations to Vickery and it’s relationship with Wieland.  Wells cannot represent both parties when Wieland is building substandard homes, degrading our community and partnering with Wells in providing mortgages on these homes.  The truth must come out – and Wells should be required to stop selling lots to Wieland and sell them to builders who share the Vickery vision to protect our community.

The sad fact is that when you enter Vickery, you leave a Democracy where the people control their territory and enter a Dictatorship where one entity (Wells) has all the power, collects taxes (aka HOA dues) and uses those funds, in part, to grant favors to friends for their gain at the expense of those who are paying the taxes.  I recall that a revolution occurred over this very issue many years ago.

 Submitted 3/29/12:  I owned a Wieland home in the 80′s….it was a piece of junk. I can’t belive he is building in Vickery. If he is in Vickery I wouldn’t be buying a home there.
 
Submitted 3/29/12:  Get your hand on a copy of Builder Magazine March 2012 Page 69. You will see what Wells Fargo is enabling Wieland to get away with in Vickery, its a “fix” alright. Wieland intends to “fix” Vickery like he has “fixed” other “failed” neighborhoods. I guess Wieland has not noticed that Vickery is alive and well and has neighbors who care about her. We have unique homes that are sought after and are beautful. Also do not forget to read the AJC March 4 article in section D1 where Wieland explains what type of homes he intends to build. What everyone is failing to see in the Wells and Wieland camp is that the demand for unique homes that fit into our neighborhood’s concept are being built and in demand and they are not hurting our economic potential like the tract homes that Wieland is intentionally dumping in our neighborhood like he has in other “failed” neighborhoods.
 
Submitted 3/27/12:  It’s obvious that John Wieland cannot build homes or does not want to build homes that are commensurate with the existing community at Vickery. This is evidenced by the long list of proposed changes that the neutral Vickery Advisory Committee at Vickery worked on with Wieland representatives. If the architectural differences are not enough to cause concern then the economic impact John Wieland will have on all existing home owners should be of concern.
Wieland bought lot 292, 291 and 290 at Vickery in August of 2011 for $120,000 each! Then in December of 2011 Wieland bought premium lots 389 and 390 for $80,000 each. (source gsccca.org) For now ignore the strange pricing scheme for each lot even though it makes no sense.
Based on Wieland’s sales brochures the average square footage of the existing homes that Wieland has built on lots 292, 291 and 290 is about 2850 square feet per home (feel free to look at FMLS data once the homes close for exact square footage). Next, take the average price of each home and lets say each home will close at a price of $360,000 per home (important to note here that the home on lot 291 went for $339,000). None the less let’s say each home went for $360,000. Now let’s take $360,000 and divide it by the average square footage, 2850. We come to a Wieland price per square foot of $126/sq ft. Now I welcome you to look up the homes in Vickery being sold by other builders and see if there is a difference, more homes closing soon.
I venture to say once closing data is available for the 3 Wieland homes and it is compared to the other builders, there will be a difference in price per square foot that shows a stark difference. I venture to say that this difference will show that Wieland is building homes that are creating an equity gap that existing homemowners in Vickery will have to suck up when they go to try and refi or sell. Do the math yourself.
Re-sales in Vickery are also strong, ask a professional real estate agent.
If you find yourself asking why? Why would Wieland not try and assimilate to existing street scapes? Why would he pay $120,000 for a lot and then build a $339,000 or less home on that lot? Why is he building tract homes in an award winning custom home neighborhood? Why did Wells Fargo effect an exclusive deal with Wieland when the other builders in Vickery have strong sales and have built homes that have not created the uproar Wieland has?
Perhaps time will tell?
 
Submitted on 3/19/12:  Really nice to have this site for communicating on this topic. Hopefully more people will begin to realize that Wells Fargo is not looking out for Vickery residents. John Wieland has certainly given no attention to “street scape design” which is one thing that has set Vickery apart from the beginning.
 
Submitted on 3/19/12:  I live up the street from Vickery in Fox Creek. I was upset to hear that John Wieland was building in Vickery. Vickery is such a jewel for Forsyth County. I hope you guys figure out a way to get him out.
 
Submitted on 3/19/12:  WOW…one of my friends just emailed this blog to me. I live near vickery and it is a shame what JW is building. I have over 20 years of custom homebuilding experience and never thought I would see a production builder in Vickery. What a shame.

Submitted on 3/19/12:  I went and looked at the houses at the end of Cordery Road. They are indeed substandard homes in comparison to the homes built by other builders in the neighborhood. The windows in the house are metal and not wood, the back yard patio is not visibly appealing at all, the exterior lacks in true craftsmanship, the interior rooms are so small and just about every fixture (including the fiber glass tubs, yuck!) are so generic. This house belongs in Vickery Downs. They have zero characteristics of a custom home. They may have passed the standards and the architectural design of Lew Oliver but the materials and lack of craftsmanship are very evident. I feel sorry for the individuals that purchase these homes because they are not getting the true Vickery experience of a detailed and unique home that has character and charm. I truly wish that Wells Fargo would stop being “The Largest Bank” and use some common sense. These houses might sell but the neighborhood will suffer because of them. I would love to know how many people in Vickery have a mortgage with Wells. If the values of the already existing homes continue to decline more people will consider walking away from mortgages because of reduced appraisals. Wells Fargo might win by making new mortgages on lower valued homes but they will lose in the end. The people that buy in this neighborhood don’t buy here because they want a “tract house”. Something Wells and Weiland clearly just doesn’t get.

Submitted on 3/23/12:  I agree with the other posters. This needs to stop. What do you need to do? I am tired of seeing the production homes in Vickery.

Submtitted on 3/24/12:  Jerry D
If you want to see what Wieland homes can do to ruin a Hedgewood community, just come to Downtown Woodstock.

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20 Responses to Comments From Readers

  1. David says:

    I agree with the other posters. This needs to stop. What do you need to do? I am tired of seeing the production homes in Vickery.

  2. Daniel G says:

    It’s obvious that John Wieland cannot build homes or does not want to build homes that are commensurate with the existing community at Vickery. This is evidenced by the long list of proposed changes that the neutral Vickery Advisory Committee at Vickery worked on with Wieland representatives. If the architectural differences are not enough to cause concern then the economic impact John Wieland will have on all existing home owners should be of concern.
    Wieland bought lot 292, 291 and 290 at Vickery in August of 2011 for $120,000 each! Then in December of 2011 Wieland bought premium lots 389 and 390 for $80,000 each. (source gsccca.org) For now ignore the strange pricing scheme for each lot even though it makes no sense.
    Based on Wieland’s sales brochures the average square footage of the existing homes that Wieland has built on lots 292, 291 and 290 is about 2850 square feet per home (feel free to look at FMLS data once the homes close for exact square footage). Next, take the average price of each home and lets say each home will close at a price of $360,000 per home (important to note here that the home on lot 291 went for $339,000). None the less let’s say each home went for $360,000. Now let’s take $360,000 and divide it by the average square footage, 2850. We come to a Wieland price per square foot of $126/sq ft. Now I welcome you to look up the homes in Vickery being sold by other builders and see if there is a difference, more homes closing soon.
    I venture to say once closing data is available for the 3 Wieland homes and it is compared to the other builders, there will be a difference in price per square foot that shows a stark difference. I venture to say that this difference will show that Wieland is building homes that are creating an equity gap that existing homemowners in Vickery will have to suck up when they go to try and refi or sell. Do the math yourself.
    Re-sales in Vickery are also strong, ask a professional real estate agent.
    If you find yourself asking why? Why would Wieland not try and assimilate to existing street scapes? Why would he pay $120,000 for a lot and then build a $339,000 or less home on that lot? Why is he building tract homes in an award winning custom home neighborhood? Why did Wells Fargo effect an exclusive deal with Wieland when the other builders in Vickery have strong sales and have built homes that have not created the uproar Wieland has?
    Perhaps time will tell?

  3. Preserve Vickery says:

    Get your hand on a copy of Builder Magazine March 2012 Page 69. You will see what Wells Fargo is enabling Wieland to get away with in Vickery, its a “fix” alright. Wieland intends to “fix” Vickery like he has “fixed” other “failed” neighborhoods. I guess Wieland has not noticed that Vickery is alive and well and has neighbors who care about her. We have unique homes that are sought after and are beautful. Also do not forget to read the AJC March 4 article in section D1 where Wieland explains what type of homes he intends to build. What everyone is failing to see in the Wells and Wieland camp is that the demand for unique homes that fit into our neighborhood’s concept are being built and in demand and they are not hurting our economic potential like the tract homes that Wieland is intentionally dumping in our neighborhood like he has in other “failed” neighborhoods.

  4. Mike Davis says:

    I owned a Wieland home in the 80’s….it was a piece of junk. I can’t belive he is building in Vickery. If he is in Vickery I wouldn’t be buying a home there.

  5. Henry D says:

    At university I visited Vickery and learned first hand what can be done if one puts ones heart and mind in sync with backbone. As a new architect, Vickery made me aspire to design in a way that accommodates beauty, function and economics, but also to leave room for tradition and legacy. I am saddened that Vickery is being attacked by Wells Fargo and John Wieland. There are very few places like it in the world, especially the new world. From afar I wish you all much success in your effort. Wells Fargo, please reconsider! Its not too late.

  6. Jason Davis says:

    Great site whoever put it together. Time to stop the shady dealings of the big banks.

  7. Daniel G says:

    How can what is happening to Vickery not be a conflict of interest? Check out this article in Post and Courier, Charleston SC. Google Bank, Wieland Team Up:

    Bank, Wieland team up

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods Inc. have agreed to the terms of a joint venture to originate, process and fund mortgage loans for builder’s customers in Charleston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, N.C.; and Nashville, Tenn.

    The joint venture, WFS Mortgage LLC, is co-owned by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, which locally builds and sells homes and develops communities such as Dunes West. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    The joint venture will offer customers of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods a range of home financing products and services through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, one of the nation’s leading providers of residential financing and a division of Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

    John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods is currently building in more than 60 neighborhoods in its five markets. The company offers a variety of home styles from townhomes to single family, executive and estate homes priced from the $200,000s to more than $1 million.

    “We are proud to be in this relationship with Wells Fargo,” said John Wieland, founder and chief executive of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods.

  8. Glen Pellock says:

    My wife and I purchased a home in Vickery due to its architecturally stunning homes and streetscapes unique to anything in Atlanta. Therefore, my question is why would Wells Fargo and John Wieland not want to continue to build homes that complement this award winning innovative community? Other builders are adding to the uniqueness of Vickery but are running out of lots. Our understanding is that Wells Fargo has an exclusive deal to sell all the remaining developed lots to John Wieland in order for him to build tract homes. This does not make any sense for two large corporations to act in a way that is detrimental to the home owners of Vickery. There are choices Wells Fargo and John Wieland have in this situation, and we will join with the concerned Vickery residents to pesuade these companies to make the right choice to protect and not harm this unique community

  9. Bob says:

    In theory John Wieland is squeaking by the design guidelines that have been set forth by the Declarant. This speaks loudly to the differentiation in the first Declarant and the current Declarant. Squeaking by the design guidelines and embracing the principles of New Urbanism are two very different concepts.

    John Wieland Homes has his own place in the building industry. His place is not in a New Urbanism neighborhood. It is quite obvious that there is no understanding and certainly no embracing of the principles that live in Vickery.

    The Devil is in the Details. Every detail that makes Vickery what it is would be a mystery to a big box builder. Why are the roads narrow? Could you tell me what the mail box looked like from your last visit? No you cannot. That little detail is very intentional. The overall design of Vickery is an environment designed by a visionary. John Wieland may be a good builder, I would not really know. I do know that he builds subdivisions not neighborhoods. The differentiation in the two is huge. If he was embracing the principals of new urbanism he failed at designing the terminating vista from across Greens Pond. Let us see what the Congress for the New Urbanism can add to this debate. If their membership cares to comment, it is safe to say that Wieland will fall short in his strategy to “fix” Vickery, a “broken” subdivision. The reason Wieland admittedly finds building in “failed expensive neighborhoods”,” tricky”, is because his universal prescription for a misdiagnosed patient is “making homes smaller and cheaper”. John Wieland comments, “Wood roofs, a clear extravagance for production housing, were replaced by asphalt shingles”, in reference to Downtown Woodstock. It is clear that John Wieland does not understand new urbanism and does not intend to build in the prescribed manner that was at the heart of Vickery and other new urbanism communities.

    We can fret over a house or 2 or 3. The real concern is the new urbanism principles that made Vickery the jewel of Forsyth County are being washed away with each and every tiny misrepresentation of the design guidelines. I for one will very much miss the legacy of Vickery if this happens.

    The good fight is about purity in design and architecture, exquisite land planning and lastly the best execution to create a sense of place in a neighborhood.

    Squeaking by is just not good enough.

  10. Lisa Sheets says:

    Well it looks like house #4 is getting underway on coveted lot. This home will forever change the look of Vickery. With it’s cheap exterior facing the lake, this is what we will be forced to look at every time we take the left onto Lullwater. What a shame and as started early…a SHAM at our expense!

  11. Mike says:

    A Vickery neighbor said to me that she felt like as citizens we have already provided a bank bailout and now they are going to force the Vickery homeowners in to another bailout using their equity…Food for thought.

  12. Larry says:

    Great news, John Wieland is performing some upgrades! Yes they weed wacked the sea of pine straw the other day and then threw more pine straw over the weeds. But wait it gets better, they are making the patio on the weird blue color house a usable rectangle instead of that alien planet pattern that they had before. Awesome! Wow that is Vickery alright.

  13. lmsau92 says:

    I am just sickened at the light blue house on lot 292. John Wieland says he is so proud of his construction and claims to build a “quality” product. Well how does he explain the dent in the front column gutter that has been there for a couple of months now since they damaged
    it trying fix the tilted column? I hope he can explain the piece of missing trim above the porch that has never been fixed since the house was built! How can he explain the plastic gutter down spout splashes that are all around the house. Again do we live in Vickery or in Vickery Downs? You see none of us have the cheap plastic down spout splashes because our gutters go underground and feed to the street. So how does JW once again get away with dumbed down design plans in a once architecturally renowned neighborhood? Is this what you want in your neighborhood? I know I sure don’t.

  14. David says:

    If you write enough times to Wells Fargo you may be lucky enough to get a response from them. If you get a response it will look something like the response below. Note the part below where the representative mentions the thoughtful consideration that went into John Wieland as the chosen builder for Vickery. Based on that comment there seems to have been some type of selection process. Whatever formal selection criteria were used by Wells Fargo, out of all the builders that they considered (if any), it would seem that only John Wieland possessed those key qualification attributes that Wells Fargo was looking for.

    Also note the part about the town urbanist. What the representative from Wells Fargo fails to mention is that Wells Fargo does not pay the town urbanist to design the Wieland homes, yet that part is conveniently left out. Lew Oliver only approves their designs. If Wells Fargo truly cared about Vickery, the process would be exactly the same as it is for Luxe, T-Olive and those families that are building currently in Vickery on non Wells Fargo lots. It is not exactly alike.
    Ask any of them how detailed and laborious their process is with the town urbanist. This is how Wells Fargo is letting John Wieland get by in Vickery with the standard, non-custom plans that he builds in other subdivisions.

    Now, don’t blink, because what is going to happen next is Lew Oliver will be roped into recommending what can be done to those standard John Wieland designs to make them more Vickery like. This will mean more stone, more brick and maybe even some ceder shingle siding. But if you blink during this shell game, you will miss the part where Lew Oliver could be hired by Wells Fargo to design the home and make it really fit into Vickery, like all of the other homes in Vickery. However, Wieland would never agree and this entire game would not play out.

    The VAC that the Wells Fargo representative mentions has spent many hours letting Wells Fargo and Wieland know how badly they have missed the mark and therefore how off the so called equal design process is from a desired outcome. If the design process were exactly the same for Wieland as it is for everyone else, why did the VAC come up with many critical points that Wieland needed to fix, and, why was Wieland so shocked? If the process that is utilized by the town urbanist with other builders in Vickery is the same as with John Wieland, why did the neutral home owner group, the VAC, which has no authority by the way, still manage to come up with many concerns? Could it be that the processes are truly not the same? Here are some of the concerns the VAC gave to Wells Fargo and John Wieland:

    T-Olive and Luxe builder’s price points and sales within the last 6 months
    Current placement (massing) of Wieland spec homes on the lake lots
    Current landscaping package of Wieland spec homes
    Current architectural features of Wieland spec homes (e.i. shutters, flood lights, grading, garages, colors, absence of mixed materials and massing effects)
    Plans for further homes on Cordery backing up to the lake
    Street scape plans for Round Road
    Street scape plans and designs for Oxbow Circle
    The finishing of the end of Cordery Road

    You will enjoy the letter below. You might also notice the person who is responding might be the Vickery declarant, Sean Stefan. Instead of indicating that he is happy to respond, his opening line shows his true posture, he is being forced to respond by his superiors. This seems to show that he may not really have Vickery’s best interest at heart. You decide.

    —————————————
    Thank you for your e-mail to Wells Fargo. I have been asked to respond to your concerns as the manager of Wells Fargo’s interests in the Vickery community.

    We understand your concerns and appreciate your desire to preserve and enhance the value of Vickery. Please know that we share the same interests. We take seriously the look and feel of Vickery and we were thoughtful in our selection of John Wieland Homes as a builder in Vickery.

    Wells Fargo has a very strong interest, both as a property owner and as steward of the homeowner’s association, in preserving the high standards of the Vickery community. I can assure you that John Wieland Homes has adhered to the Vickery Residential Design Guidelines and Approval Process and will continue to do so. To help ensure this, we have continued to engage Lew Oliver as Town Urbanist. I have an enclosed a letter he wrote last month that seeks to address your concerns. I would highlight this sentence: “Not only has John Wieland Homes abided by all of the regulations that are in place in Vickery, the designers and builders have never failed to fulfill additional requests from the Office of the Town Urbanist associated with delivering quality design and construction. The pre-design conference required, plan submittal, review, have all been professionally submitted and drawn, lawful, and within the established guidelines for Vickery.”

    The guidelines Mr. Oliver references have not changed. Furthermore, we have had numerous discussions with the Vickery Advisory Committee, a body made up of and appointed by residents of the community, and we will continue to communicate with this group. Members of the committee have expressed their support for our management of the community. We value feedback from you and other homeowners. We would also urge you to bring your concerns to the advisory committee.

    It is in everyone’s best interests that the standards of the Vickery community are maintained and that the community thrives. We are working toward that every day. Thank you again for communicating your concerns.

  15. lmsau92 says:

    To Lisa Jenkins regarding lot 389 it is the Donaldson which is already in at least 2 other Wieland neighborhoods if not more, and will also be built again on Round Rd. If you go to Wieland’s website you can see which one he is building and there is NOTHING that is architecturally interesting about this house. It will be another exterior siding house with a porch like the 3 others across the street and with the same roof line as them as well. If you look at the footings that were poured for this house, John Wieland will try to impress all of us by slapping brick or stone onto that house. Remember Wieland’s strategy for failed subdivisions is to “still clad with stone but typically only along the foundation or on the front elevation”.
    I can guarantee you it won’t be any of the diverse styles in Vickery such as Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Carpenter Gothic, Greek Revival, Italian Villa, French Eclectic, or English Cottage. Another thing I can tell you with certainty is that the home won’t be designed by Lew Oliver. I’m pretty certain Lew Oliver did not design the Donaldson, Danbury, The Hampshire, the Stockten, etc. I’m also pretty certain Lew Oliver does not and will not have any John Wieland homes on his website. Hope this helps!

  16. Concerned for Vickery says:

    For Wells Fargo/Developer/Declarant:
    What are the plans for the future parks in Vickery and will Greens Pond that remains incomplete be finished as shown on the Master Plan? Oxbo Park which is at the front of Oxbo Circle is in the path of JWH? How will this area be finished to support your previous statement that it is important for Vickery to to be maintained and thrive?

  17. Concerned for Vickery says:

    So, no answer on the above inquiry from Wells Fargo….That silence speaks loudly!

  18. Glen says:

    Has anyone noticed the brick sample board for the house JW is building at the pond on Cordery Rd. This brick is what you see all over Atlanta in subdivisions built by Pulte, Peachtree, Ryland, Beazer, etc. If the residents of Vickery will not stand up now to preserve Vickery, then we will have no one else to blame but ourselves when it is all said and done.

  19. Michelle says:

    Enough is enough! How can John Wieland get away with his fourth catastrophe in our neighborhood? I’m sorry but something is terribly wrong with our ARB if Wieland is being allowed to put 3 fake windows on his fourth home! First of all this home has no historical design. It is being thrown together by a group of clueless architects who are trashing our neighborhood with horrendous homes. On top of that, the third home has screens over the windows in the front? Who approved that? Please make him stop! I can’t take it anymore!!

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