by Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Judging from the emails and messages I receive on a daily basis, there is no shortage of HOA nonsense and dysfuntion. Plenty of issues to write about. And sometimes it can be difficult to choose the most compelling or important blog of the day.
But today’s article is timely because it’s back-to-school time over the next several weeks. And news reports about association-governed communities treating children and their parents as second-class citizens happens to be a pet peeve of mine.
Parents upset HOA asked school to move bus stop farther away
by: Mike Petchenik Updated: Aug 9, 2017 – 7:44 PM
NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – Some Alpharetta parents say a decision to move their children’s bus stop is putting their kids in danger.
Parents in the Windward Pointe subdivision off Windward Parkway told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik they learned before school started that the district had moved the stop from inside their subdivision to just outside of it at the request of the homeowners’ association.
“That was a hazard with them having to go that far and with it being that many cars and little children,” said Jessica Musgrove, who needs a wheelchair to get around.
Read more (Video):
Even if you think walking a half mile to the bus stop each day is a healthy habit for kids and parents, the reality is that a walk that far – hauling heavy book bags and back packs in all kinds of weather – takes precious time in the morning. The added time and inconvenience creates unnecessary stress for parents.
But the biggest concern is the safety of children and teens congregating near a busy intersection.
As you can see from the above Google map of Windward Pointe HOA, it appears to be a townhouse community with one entry point off a busy commercial highwa, behind a Costco store. Check out their website here.
Notice that there is no information available to the public. There is a private login for members only, and a tab to “buy documents,” meaning that this HOA does not even bother to post its governing documents for consumers to view. Looking at this website, we do not even know how many homes are in Windward Pointe, or who manages the association, but we can see there is community swimming pool.
About as transparent as a brick wall, wouldn’t you say?
And don’t you just love reason for the board’s decision? According to the WSB-TV report the school bus has been banished from Windward Pointe to avoid tearing up the roads.
As a self-contained community, Windward Pointe is responsible for maintaining its private roads. But to call roads in an association-governed community “private” is misleading. Each day those roads are inundated with landscape trucks and heavy equipment, waste removal services, delivery trucks, moving vans, and more. A school bus is not going to put any additional wear and tear on roads than all of those other vehicles.
And the homeowner association should have already planned for the substantial expense of road maintenance. Perhaps, like a majority of community associations, Windward Pointe HOA has not set aside sufficient money – about $325,000 as reported – in reserves to resurface roads.
Still, like the residents interviewed by WSB-TV, I am not buying into the HOA board’s stated reason for making children walk out to a busy road to meet the school bus.
Maybe someone who lives near the former bus stop in the neighborhood has complained about children waiting for the bus. It seems that just about every HOA has at least one, if not several, neighbors who do not have children and do not happen to like them very much. After all, kids can be noisy and occasionally messy.
Whatever the reason behind the sudden change in policy, it appears that none of the residents were consulted prior to the HOA board making its decision. And, unfortunately, that is quite typical of HOAs. Some on the board simply decide to vote on important matters (or make a decree without a vote), without first bothering to survey the members and residents who are directly affected by the board’s decisions.
But hopefully, local media coverage will prompt the HOA board to reconsider their decision, in the interest of safety and well-being for school children.