By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
To continue yesterday’s post about the decline of homeowners’ associations in the U.S., let’s take a look at a few examples of city governments that are now seriously reconsidering the wisdom of expecting HOAs to undertake and pay for repair and maintenance of their own private infrastructure.
In these 40-50 year old communities, we can see that the privatization experiment has failed miserably.
But now a new crop of city leaders is looking for ways to help homeowners rebuild crumbling roads and stormwater structures, including dams that once created community lakes.
Finally, city leaders acknowledge that very few roads, drainage areas, and lakes are entirely restricted to private use, and that well-designed and maintained infrastructure benefits the general public.
The public vs. private debate continues, with a trend toward reevaluating the importance of public service.
Keep in mind that these older HOAs predate thousands of “modern” mandatory HOAs, almost universally required for new construction in many states, starting in the 1980s and 1990s. In another decade or so, we are likely to see many other HOAs with private roads, storm water culverts, dams, ponds, and lakes in poor, potentially hazardous condition.
Constituent pressure on municipal and county governments to assist with – or take over – repair and maintenance of HOA infrastructure is very likely to increase.
One year after Matthew, Fayetteville continues to struggle with recovery
Posted October 3
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Nearly one year after Hurricane Matthew ripped through North Carolina, destroying homes and washing out dams, Fayetteville city leaders continue to struggle with a plan for recovery.
Freddy Rivera, president of the Rayconda Homeowner’s Association, said two of the subdivision’s privately owned dams were washed out by Hurricane Matthew.
The city quickly replaced the earthen dam on Siple Avenue with a culvert because it was the only way in and out of the subdivision for emergency vehicles.
“I just want the lake back. We all want the lakes back,” Rivera said. “This was once a lake. A private lake. A very clean lake, where people used to swim in it.”
Read more (Video):
The City of Fayetteville had to replace a culvert, in order for NC DOT to repair the only access road in and out of Rayconda HOA. Over the years, the city also installed utility lines in the lakebed. And, of course, Rayconda homes have lost considerable value now that their lakes have dried up. So now the Council is trying to figure out how they can reclassify a private lake as a public storm water reservoir. But, in reality, haven’t North Carolina’s lakes (public or private) always served as attractive storm water reservoirs with the added advantage of recreation value?
See previous coverage of Rayconda HOA here and here.
Riverhead highway supe talks to lawyer over road dispute
Updated October 8, 2017 3:35 PM
By Jean-Paul Salamanca firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Riverhead Town Board works to settle a legal dispute on whether the town should maintain a private community’s roads, officials may face another potential lawsuit on the matter.
Highway Superintendent George Woodson said he is consulting his attorney after the board voted 3-2 at its Oct. 3 regular meeting to reject a resolution that would have paid for Mineola-based Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan LLP to represent him in a lawsuit filed by a civic group. It also would have paid for any related litigation, which would have allowed him to sue the town board over whether the town’s highway department should maintain the roads at the private Oak Hills community in Baiting Hollow.
The Oak Hills Civic Association named Woodson and the town as defendants in a 2016 lawsuit filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court. The group wants Riverhead to provide full maintenance — such as paving, snow removal and tree trimming — to the community’s 12 roads.
Now this dispute is getting ugly, with Riverhead Town Council pitted against its Highway Superintendent. It seems as though Woodson is at the center of a three-way dispute involving The Oak Hills Civic Association as well as the town board of Riverhead. The HOA is suing Woodson, who refuses to provide full maintenance of their 12 roads. And town council has voted 3-2 against paying for Woodson’s legal defense.
See previous details here.