Abbey Glen condo association, developer preparing “private” roads for dedication to the town of Gibsonville
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Some states dedicate all newly constructed roads to the local government — even streets in planned communities with homeowners’ associations (HOAs) or condominiums.
In other states, community roads may be considered private, even if there are no gates at entry points.
Abbey Glen Condominiums, located in Gibsonville, North Carolina, is a community of approximately 162 homes, with a mix of one and two-story attached and detached dwellings, designed for active adults. The homes were constructed between 2007 and 2016, and each unit has its own garage and driveway.
The condo association manages a pool and a clubhouse, a retention pond, and, currently, its own roads, which include some space for guest parking.
But, with private roads, homeowners and residents are stuck with trying to figure out how to keep the roads well-maintained and safe. That means arranging for crack and pothole repair, line painting, maintenance of street signs and possibly lighting, cleaning and sweeping debris, and removal of snow and ice in winter climates.
For a board of volunteer homeowners, that’s a huge responsibility. Even with the help of a professional manager, identifying reliable maintenance providers is challenging and quite costly.
So in 2014, Abbey Glen homeowners approached their Town Council, to see if it would be possible to transfer the responsibility for street maintenance from their condo association to Gibsonville Public Works.
In this case, the city worked out a plan to make it happen. According to a report in the Times-News, the condo association was provided with an “11-point checklist” of conditions to be met before the town would agree to take over ongoing maintenance of the community’s streets.
The developer, who originally designated the roads as private, ultimately agreed to install a culvert bridge over a ditch that drains storm water from the retention pond. Now that the road work is nearly complete, Gibsonville town council is about to vote on final dedication of Abbey Glen’s streets.
This particular quote from the Times-News article (linked below) immediately caught my eye:
Elmer Braxton, president of the homeowners association, said that while the developer decided to make the roads private, the roads, for all intents and purposes, are public. He added that the residents pay taxes, so they would like the streets to be maintained as public.
“The general public uses the roads,” he said. “Fire trucks, EMS, mail people, trash collection and even school buses occasionally use the roads.”
Nearly all residents in hundreds of thousands of association-governed, common interest communities, with so-called “private” roads can make the same statement.
Very few community roads are truly private, with limited access.
Main artery roads in larger communities experience a great deal of traffic. Even side streets are subject to a lot of wear and tear, especially with houses packed tightly together, or even attached. Generally, the more homes, the more residents, the more vehicles will travel community roads, including short cul-de-sacs and winding loop roads.
And even if a community is gated, its roads may be quite heavily traveled by non-resident drivers each and every day.
In fact, traffic bottlenecks, speeding, and running stop signs are three very common complaints in planned communities of all sizes. Some HOAs have even resorted to writing their own traffic tickets.
But the HOA dilemma is, many inconsiderate or reckless drivers are not necessarily residents of association-governed communities — they are visiting guests, landscape and home repair professionals, delivery drivers, trash haulers, van or bus drivers transporting seniors or school children, to cite some obvious examples.
Why are untrained, unqualified homeowner boards in association-governed communities expected to arrange for their community’s own traffic control? Why should homeowners be expected to pay extra for the local Sheriff or private security officers to maintain basic road safety?
Aren’t tax dollars already paying for these services on non-private streets?
More and more homeowners are beginning to understand that private roads are not necessarily a desirable selling point. More likely, they are an expensive liability.
And so, the de-privatization trend continues….once their private roads become public roads, it will relieve Abbey Glen condo association of at least one huge burden.
Gibsonville condo owners want town to take over their streets
By Bill Cresenzo, Times-News
Posted Mar 22, 2018 at 5:37 AM
Gibsonville is getting closer to taking over maintenance of the streets in a condominium development.
The move has been in the works for at least four years. Abbey Glen’s homeowners association requested in 2014 that the town start maintaining streets in the development. Currently, the residents pay to maintain the streets through association dues.
After the request was made, the residents received an 11-point checklist of work needed to be done to the streets and what the town should consider before deciding whether to maintain them. The document covers issues such items as parking and right-of-ways. It was drafted by engineering firm Alley, Williams, Carmen & King Inc.
The town agreed to manage the neighborhood’s recycling and trash collection in 2015. The neighborhood’s developer is currently installing a culvert bridge.