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Archive for September 2008

Homeowner’s Ass-ociations

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I would like to take a poll.  No, it is not national politics I’m curious about.  I could delve into some commentary about the current economy or some ponderings about what life would be like if Palin were president.  Sure, it would get laughs but it would be so easy, it would insult both of us.  Instead, my poll is about local politics.

Who lives in a neighborhood with a Homeowner’s Association?
Who is an actual part of a Homeowner’s Association?
How did these people get appointed to this group?
On whose authority to they derive their power?

In my little relatively homogenous neighborhood, we have an HOA (how cute is that) and it is run by a very reasonable man.  We call him il presidente.  He’s nice, he does good things for our community, he believes in community, he takes pictures of naked women as a hobby.  I mean really, how could it be better.  Integrity with a hint of scandal, just what I love in a president.  Under his watchful eye, and likely lens, dues get collected, the parking strips remain mowed, and the entrance has tended shrubbery.  Every few months the neighbors (you have to understand this means 10 houses) get together and squabble over how the parking strip gets mowed and who trims the shrubbery.  Apparently these talks get heated but having never actually attended, I have no room to comment.

The unfortunate step-child for our HOA is, no joke, the ARC (Architectural  Review Committee).  It seems that there is great concern that one of us is going to whip out a wheel-less 1984 Corolla on cinderblocks onto the front yard next to the above-ground pool and we need someone in authority standing by to beat them.

As you might remember from previous conversations, I have a slope in my back yard that is held together by a tenacious Wandering Jew that is always being trampled by the hound.  The sloping unfortunately extends to the back of the house where the foundation is increasingly exposed.  It is time for a retaining wall and a patio.  I went to the same folks that did some other work in the neighborhood and are using them to build this very complex wall and floor.  Enter the ARC.

Again, I would like to point out the beauty of the backyard plan is in its simplicity (and coincidentally cost effectiveness)….retaining wall and patio in tasteful pavers.  There are no fountains, water features or Buddhist meditation areas.  Despite the fact that no one can see this area unless they go through the back gate while being molested by a 100 lb drooling bloodhound, an official “plan” needs to go through the WHC-HOA-ARC.  A friend draws up a to scale drawing of the area complete with computer generated shrubs (which lets face it, I won’t be able to afford until next year), and I send it in along with an official letter and a brief description of my need to prevent my house from sliding down an eroding hill (which I do think would actually take out the Wandering Jew).

I was then informed that the WHCHOA-ARC would need to meet and possible go to my backyard and look at the offending area. …you know, before they could make a decision…..are you kidding.  Then I was then privy to the email banter that went back and forth between members of the WHC-HOW-ARC.
Member 1
“We are leaving early on Thursday morning for ten days. Based upon the description you provided I would have no objections.
If everyone else can meet you guys go ahead without me. I do think it is important that we have plans in hand (not promised) before we give her an answer. “

…wtf….

Member 2
“Were the attachemtns on the previous email considered “plans”?”

….no, a drawing of the wall and floor that is to scale isn’t a plan….we wanted to give you something pretty to tack up on the fridge.

I won’t bore you with the remainder of the communications.   I just want to know, what on earth do you do for a living that gives you the time to examine , meet and discuss, and come to a decision about what your neighbors do in their backyard.

Again I can’t understate the complexity of my request, wall…..floor.  I informed the WHC-HOA-ARC that a more sophisticated rendition of wall and floor was going to cost extra because, it’s so *$#%#-ing easy, the landscape architect didn’t need to draw it.  This sent them into a tailspin.  I was not privy to the ensuing debate over this little development.

Eventually, my request was granted, and as I sit here typing, 5 men are laboring in the backyard to build aforementioned wall and floor.  There have been more delays, including waiting for the city to mark the yard for cable and gas lines but they finally started.  Of course, their first step is to dig up the sprinkler system as it, naturally, runs right under  where the wall is going to be.
Maybe I should have seen a plan.

Written by composthaste

September 30, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized