Holding HOAs, developers, and your city government accountable

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine who should be held accountable for addressing community-related complaints. 

What would you do, if faced with these dilemmas?


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In one New York State community for adults age 55 and better, homeowners are taking their concerns about an unresponsive developer directly to their local town council. The homeowners’ association packed Town Hall with residents, and made it clear that the Town should not release a $736,000 bond until the developer completes unfinished work, as obligated by contract to homeowners and the municipal government.

These are definitely not apathetic homeowners. They’re serious about getting the full value of what they’ve paid for — including working street lights and trees that are still living.

Will town leaders support residents by holding Lennar’s feet to the fire?

Wallkill senior development says builder left job undone

By Lana Bellamy
Times Herald-Record
Posted Aug 10, 2018 at 9:09 PM
Updated Aug 10, 2018 at 11:15 PM

TOWN OF WALLKILL — Residents of Wildflowers at Wallkill are determined to hold the builder accountable as it wraps up work at the gated community.

Wildflowers residents filled Town Hall in late July to ask local officials not to release Lennar Corp.’s performance bond for the development.

Wildflowers consists of 283 detached single-family homes for people 55 and older. The community is located off Cottage Street and looped together by roads named after flowers, like Cyprus Drive, Juniper Circle and Iris Lane. It also boasts tennis courts, an outdoor pool and a 7,500-square-foot clubhouse.

Orleans Homes began developing Wildflowers in 2007. Lennar took over the project in 2015, after Orleans filed for bankruptcy. Lennar completed the last home planned for the complex in November.

Greg Miller, Wildflowers’ homeowners association board president, said he is afraid the company is ready to pack up and leave despite a laundry list of items residents claim need to be addressed.

Most of the items are small, Miller noted, like a street lamp cited in Lennar’s plans that has not yet been installed, trees that need to be planted and dead trees that need to be removed.

Miller said on Tuesday that Lennar has been largely unresponsive to residents’ inquiries about how construction is going.

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Meanwhile, a small business owner in San Diego has to park her work van miles away from her home, at a cost of $200 per month. Shweta Shah blames the problem on the City’s bike lanes, which have eliminated parallel street parking of vehicles.

But the city is not willing to create street parking spots in bike lanes, and officials say the problem is with Shah’s Sorrento Valley HOA, which requires all vehicles be parked inside the garage, and restricts residents from parking commercial vehicles in the driveway.

Unfortunately, Shah’s work van is also too tall to fit in her home’s garage. In this case, the homeowner will need to appeal to her HOA — and gain support of many of her neighbors — in order to change parking restrictions so that residents can park certain commercial vehicles in their driveway.

Homeowners must be willing to hold the HOA accountable for loosening parking rules a bit, rather than forcing residents to look miles away from home for a place to park.

Your Stories Investigates: Bike lanes forcing people to park blocks from home

Posted: Aug 08, 2018 9:01 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 09, 2018 4:21 AM EDT
By Steve Price, Reporter, CBS8

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – A Sorrento Valley resident said the city’s bike lanes are taking away parking spots.

Shweta Shah said the lack of parking space is frustrating and affecting her small business. Shah’s nine-foot-van is her dog groomer’s office – a grooming salon on wheels for pets.

Since starting her dog grooming business last year, Shah has been hounded by the constant battle with bike lanes. “For miles and miles, there is zero street parking. They are all bike lanes.”

Her Sorrento Valley home is a community with an HOA that does not allow commercial vehicles to be parked out in the open. Her garage is not an option, she said. Shah said she tried to park just outside the development on Calle Cristobal, and that is when she noticed the no parking zones.

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And in Prospect Heights (IL), condo owners and tenants staged a protest against their association, calling for the resignation of three board members. Three weeks following a devastating fire that caused millions of dollars in damage, residents are demanding access to their apartments to collect some of their personal belongings.

Although the condo association notified residents of dates and times they could gain access to their homes (or what’s left of their homes), dates listed the letter were incorrect. People arrived to retrieve their belongings, but were told to come back at a later date.

The condo association also says residents must wear a hazmat suit in order to enter their charred apartments, but then made no arrangements to supply one.

Anyone have a spare hazmat suit?

Residents displaced by Prospect Heights fire protest actions of Condo Association

By Sarah Schulte, ABC7
Thursday, August 09, 2018 05:19PM
PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) — Former residents of a Prospect Heights condo complex that was destroyed by fire in July staged a protest against the building’s management Thursday.

Displaced residents said they are unhappy with the way they have been treated by three members of the River Trails Condo Association Board.

“I feel like they have no sympathy because they’re not affected,” said fire victim Monica Alvarez. “To us, this is our entire life, our hard work, our memories.”

Alvarez said she rushed to River Trails Thursday because a letter sent by the condo association Wednesday said displaced residents could have access to their burnt-out units on August 9, only to find out the letter had the wrong dates.

The letter also stated that residents could only enter the building if they wore hazmat suits, but gave no information on where to obtain one.

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