Though Hubert White has campaigned under the promise that as county chairman he would "preserve rural values... while promoting quality growth and planned development," some of the residents of the subdivisions he has built have a different understanding of the candidate.
White is running for the Democratic Party's nomination for chairman. He placed second in the July 15 primary, capturing 39 percent of the vote. He will face banker Kathy Morgan, who came in first place, in the Aug. 5 runoff.
According to the Newton County Planning and Development Department, Hubert White and his companies have built or are in the process of building 1,010 houses and townhomes in Newton County.
His developments include The Falls at Butler Ridge (374 homes), Orchard Park (246 homes over the course of three phases) and Victoria Station (118 homes).
Residents in each of the subdivisions have reported various issues with shoddy construction work, broken covenants and poorly maintained common areas.
As of press time, White could not be reached for comment for this article.
Cynthia Smith has lived in Orchard Park for 18 months and in her time there has encountered many problems in dealing with White and his employees.
"Some of the wood wasn't finished correctly," Smith said of the new home she purchased from White's company. "The kitchen floor is coming up. When you vacuum, you still get sheetrock dust a year later. It's piddling stuff to a certain extent, but after a while it all adds up."
After contacting White's foreman several times about needed repairs and restorations to the house, which Smith said should have been covered under her one-year warranty, she said she was told that she had already had too much warranty work done and that she would have to pay for all other repairs with her own money.
"I just got frustrated enough to do my own work after a while," Smith said. "It's what you have to do."
Smith said there have also been issues with the local home owners association. She feels the yearly dues of $395, which should go to the upkeep of Orchard Park common areas are unaccounted for and misspent.
"The homeowners have nothing to do with the [homeowners] association because Hubert is in control of the association," she said.
According to Smith, the subdivision's swimming pool was supposed to have opened on Memorial Day this year, but didn't actually open until late June. Plans for a promised second swimming pool, to meet the needs of the subdivision's expanding population, have been cancelled she said.
"The first phase has 76 houses, most all [of them] are full, many house have children," Smith said. "The swimming pool we have is not a large swimming pool. It does not accommodate the neighborhood."
Smith added that most of the furniture at the pool has been supplied by local residents, even though their association dues should reportedly be paying for the furniture as well as the upkeep of the swimming pool and restrooms. Smith said workers only recently covered an electrical box by the swimming pool that had exposed electrical wiring after residents reported the health hazard to the Planning Commission.
White has also reportedly made changes to the covenant of Orchard Park, Smith said. Under the original covenant there were to be no front-facing garages in Phase I or duplexes, though both are currently under construction she said.
Homeowners' requests to meet with White and discuss these issues have gone unanswered she said.
"Getting a return phone call from Hubert's office or his foreman is a joke. You can call the office every day for a week and you might get a call," Smith said.
Located just outside of Oxford, Victoria Station was built adjacent to an asphalt plant. Residents of the subdivision joined with the city last year to protest the proposed addition of a second asphalt plant by Lafarge Aggregates.
Though the proposal was ultimately defeated by the Newton County Board of Commissioners, residents of the subdivision must still contend with the presence of the first plant, a plant that was already in place before Hubert White Construction began building Victoria Station.
According to Dominique Hammond, president of the Homeowners Association of Victoria Station, when she first purchased her house, she was not briefed about the presence of the asphalt plant next door.
Hammond, who has lived at Victoria Station for three years, said she feels the subdivision could have been laid out better to prevent drainage into some of the yards.
"There are some things, in regards to the whole layout of the property, that I think could have been done much better," she said, adding that stakes were not properly put down to identify property lines.
Diane Dawson, a resident of The Falls at Butler Ridge, said annual homeowners association fees, once $50, have increased to $200 due to mismanagement, she feels, on the part of White's construction company.
"There have been issues ever since I've lived here," Dawson said. "It's been a constant battle with Mr. White over things he was supposed to have done, things he didn't do. It's just been an ongoing thing."
According to Dawson, White has failed to repair a dam that goes into the subdivision's lake and he has not turned over the title of the access park, despite repeated requests by the homeowners association.
"It's been one convoluted mess after another," Dawson said.
According to the Georgia Better Business Bureau, one complaint has been filed against Hubert White Construction in the last three years. It has been resolved.