By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
I started off my Sunday morning watching a short video clip from KENS5 Eyewitness News out of San Antonio Texas.
It’s yet another report of a homeowner and her HOA, sparring over a flower bed of bluebonnets, a native wildflower and the official state flower of Texas. The Park at Two Creeks HOA, working with Spectrum Association Management, sent a letter to Dee Ann Havely, informing her that her bluebonnets are considered weeds that must be removed from her lawn. Havely is perturbed, because the bluebonnets have been in her yard for more than 5 years, starting out as a few plants and now growing into a lush plant bed. A neighbor interviewed by KENS5 says that most owners of the 70-home neighbhorhood think the flowers are attractive and that Havely should be allowed to keep them.
Here’s the report:
Homeowner and HOA engage in bluebonnet battle
KENS 10:33 PM. CST March 10, 2017
Battles between property owners and homeowners associations are fairly common, but what one woman is fighting to keep only comes around two months out of the year.
At the Park At Two Creeks they have a homeowners association that says each yard has to be well manicured with no weeds and grass cut below six inches. But one property is causing a bit of a disturbance.
“We are passionate about our bluebonnets,” said Dee Ann Havely, who has lived in the subdivision for 5.5 years, when her bluebonnet bonanza began. “I planted the first ones. They were just small plants five years ago.”
But now there are hundreds of them covering much of her front yard.
“I’ve had people stop when I am out in my yard working and say, ‘Those are beautiful flowers. We just love them,'” Havely recalled.
“I don’t see any harm at all in the wildflowers, and most people here in our 70-home neighborhood don’t see any harm in it either,” Park At Two Creeks resident Linda Thoms said.
But the subdivision’s HOA does see the harm, and sent letters telling her to mow them down.
Read more (VIDEO):
I wanted to find out more about Two Creeks and Spectrum Association Management. I searched the internet for a current website for the HOA, hoping to view a copy of the governing documents. But to no avail.
Here’s what I found.
A sales site for Two Creeks, promoting new homes at the Heights at Two Creeks (not the Park at Two Creeks), apparently a new phase in the same master planned community. The sales site touts the community’s “abundant amenities surrounded by nature” and environmentally responsible development. No information about the HOA.
So a buyer would be led to believe that a native wildflower would be welcome in her landscape.
I also found a real estate broker’s website featuring homes for sale at Two Creeks. On this site, you can see that home prices begin at $282,000. The HOA fees are listed as follows:
$120.00 billed quarterly. REC dues are $230.00 billed annually. POA dues are $135.00 billed annually. There are three one time transfer fee of $100.00.
Wait, how many HOAs are there?
Here’s a screen shot of a welcome letter from Association Management Services, a division of First Service Residential, apparently the previous management company for Two Creeks.
So Havely has to pay three different HOA dues, totaling at least $840 annually. Why isn’t that information available on the home sale site created by the home builder? And we don’t even know if this information is current, because now the Park at Two Creeks is managed by Spectrum Association Management, according to KENS5.
Here is Spectrum Association Management’s website. They have a Facebook page, too. But there is no direct link to an HOA page for Two Crees associated with Spectrum.
There is, however, a website administered by First Service Residential.
So, as a home buyer or even a current homeowner, it is difficult to find complete and correct information about Two Creeks HOAs.
No wonder there are so many misunderstandings and confusion over the rules. And, of course, how do frustrated homeowners communicate with their boards (and which one?) about specfic issues with management companies as go-betweens, and little transparency as far as access to CC&Rs, rules, and architectural standards?
What if owners do not agree with the rules, or find them too restrictive?
After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And most people like bluebells. Is a management company and HOA truly promoting a pleasant environment by micromanaging the type of flowers residents can plant in their yard?
I’ll allow the reader to decide.