Dunes West POA had planned to use electronic tracking equipment to monitor speed and take photos of license plates
Offenders would have had their resident gate access suspended
Traffic problems in association-governed communities across the U.S. are creating a new trend of self-enforcement by homeowners associations. But many homeowners view HOA enforcement as extreme overreach of authority.
One example: Dunes West POA in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Last week, Board President Tom Boyer announced a new traffic safety policy aimed at deterring speeders within the gated areas of Dunes West.
According to local media reports, the HOA would have used cameras and speed tracking equipment to identify and photograph license plates of speeding vehicles.
Homeowners were reportedly blindsided by the new policy.
Dunes West issues barcode stickers to registered vehicles, intended for homeowners, tenants, and guests of residents. When the barcode decal is applied to the vehicle, and activated by the association’s gate managers, it triggers an automatic gate to open, so that the driver can easily enter the community.
Drivers of vehicles without an active barcode must use the visitor lane to enter Dunes West, and gain entry only upon approval of the gate attendant.
Dunes West has two gated entry points. The association’s official “Barcode Policy” requires current registration of all vehicles with HOA management. The barcode for easy gate access is deactivated for residents who are 30 days delinquent on their assessments, or otherwise in violation of covenants and restrictions. A homeowner is responsible for the actions of any other registered driver with a purchased barcode, such as their tenants, or visiting family members who reside outside the community.
By extension, if Dunes West POA were to move ahead with its new speeding policy, homeowners would have been held responsible if any of their guests were caught speeding, according to electronic tracking equipment.
Understandably, homeowners were not at all pleased with the prospect of having to wait in the visitor’s lane to enter their own neighborhood if one of their guests happened to be filmed traveling a few miles over the speed limit.
Besides, they argued, according to a report in the Post and Courier, electronic speed tracking equipment is illegal in South Carolina. If law enforcement cannot use it to issue sanctions and penalties, why should the HOA be allowed to do so?
Many residents were also uncomfortable with the thought of Big Brother POA photographing license plates coming and going in the community.
The issue blew up on Dunes West’s Facebook page.
Homeowners and residents voiced their opposition to the policy. The story was picked up by the Post and Courier and WCBD News 2. Owners conducted an online survey, and more than 90% were opposed to the HOA’s speeding policy.
A week later, and the HOA board has had a welcome change of heart. The board has decided to drop their plans to institute the unpopular speeding policy.
The association has agreed to work out a better solution with input from homeowners.
A huge step in the right direction for community harmony.
Controversial speed enforcement plan dropped by Mount Pleasant property association
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