Bay Pointe residents complain of dysfunctional heating, high cost

May 19, 2022

Steve Costa remembers the advertisement for the condo he and his wife now own in the Bay Pointe Club's Windward Pines development as touting "leisure, luxury and lifestyle."

They were excited about their home, he says, but the unit came with a heating system that doesn't work properly, sliding doors that let cold air in and a railing that came off — and exterior features like dim streetlights and uneven sidewalks.

Even as developer Stonestreet Corporation seeks Planning Board approval for its next phases of housing construction, owners of the company’s first units are up in arms about what they say is the shoddy construction of their homes.

“We bought into something that was supposed to be, as the advertisement goes, ‘Leisure, luxury and lifestyle,’” Costa said. “That’s not what we have here.”

The units are part of Bay Pointe’s Phase 1 of development along the golf course, owned by the Stonestreet Corporation. The Rhode Island-based company, led by President Tim Fay, owns the Bay Pointe Club golf course and housing.

Fay said in a phone interview on Monday that the past two years have proved especially challenging, between the pandemic and supply chain shortages.

Because Fay owns the company that built and maintains their homes, residents blamed him for their homes’ issues. A number of residents declined to go on the record due to their fear of retaliation.

But there was a clear consensus among the residents: Even when they report a problem, there’s no guarantee that action will be taken. And Costa said that he’s had to hire external contractors for some interior fixes.

“These homes weren’t cheap,” said David MacPhee, a resident on Cahoon Road in Windward Pines. The starting price for homes in Bay Pointe's second phase of development is about $500,000.

The biggest problem for many homeowners is the lack of a reliable heating system, MacPhee said. That rings true for Costa as well.

Stonestreet was once a distributor for STEP Warmfloor, a system that offers panels under the floor that radiate heat above with the intent of replacing more traditional heating systems.

MacPhee said his — and other’s — systems weren’t installed correctly, so some rooms in his home aren’t able to rise up to 64 degrees in the winter. He said he’s had to use his gas fireplace to warm his home.

The heating costs have also alarmed MacPhee. A marketing slideshow detailing the benefits of STEP Warmfloor gave an example of the heating costs for a 2,000 square-foot home from November to March: $768.

That’s far below what MacPhee paid in just one month. This January, his Eversource bill totaled $931.04.

Costa lives in one of the last homes that were built in Windward Pines. He had heard from other residents that the heating could be problematic, so he pushed Stonestreet to show him that the heating system worked, he said.

Still, when wintertime came around, Costa found his house didn’t heat up everywhere, even when he had his thermostat cranked up to 74 degrees.

“I’m not warm,” he said, “and I can’t get warm on real cold days.”

Fay said that Stonestreet is working with the heating system manufacturer to get things working.

“We’re working diligently to respond to all of the customers in respect to the STEP Warmfloor,” he said. “I’m in the process of working hard with the manufacturer to resolve any and all issues at Windward Pines.”

Both Costa and MacPhee described further problems in their homes that make them worry about the quality of the construction.

A punch-list dated Nov. 4, 2021, details problems identified by Bay Pointe homeowners, totaling about 140 issues across 27 homes.

Rotting landscaping, poor drainage and exposed wood paneling are among the problems inventoried by residents. In his home’s stairwell, MacPhee points out how his foot hangs off the edge of the steps, even with extra trim added after they were built.

In Planning Board meetings, residents have pleaded to the board to consider their worries about what they describe as dim solar-powered streetlights and uneven — or nonexistent — sidewalks that pose safety concerns.

Certain exterior issues, including street lighting and pathways, will be resolved in about 60 days, Fay said, wrapping up work in Phase I.

MacPhee said he and other residents aren’t just worried about their own homes — they’re also concerned these issues will persist in new development. Stonestreet’s next phases include plans for more than 100 units — some single family, some duplexes and some multi-family condos.

Town officials too have expressed their frustrations at Bay Pointe.

The Planning Board’s hearing about the next phase of construction has stretched over months. Some board members shared their frustrations with the company over the time it’s taken for Stonestreet to respond to board concerns.

“This has been going on for so long,” board member Sam Corbitt said at an April 11 meeting. Corbitt said he was tired of having the Bay Pointe item on every agenda for months, only to be delayed.

The board held a special meeting on May 2 devoted to Bay Pointe, and that public hearing has been continued to May 23.