By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
You’ve probably noticed that HOAs across the U.S. tend to hate Little Libraries. HOA restrictions rarely allow a homeowner to keep one. But today’s post shares an HOA vs. Little Library story with a twist.
The Cape Gazette just published two articles about the Villages of Five Points HOA in Lewes, Delaware. The HOA reportedly has a history of opposing new development near its community, including a proposed gym and an assisted living facility.
Five Point HOA’s latest feud with Lewes Public Library began March 23. On that day, the board decided to fine the Library $6,000, plus $50 per day, over a library kiosk and two park benches it installed on a 2-acre parcel of land next to the community.
But, get this: the HOA does not own the site of the library’s book kiosk. The HOA says it donated the land parcel to the library in 2012, under the condition that it would become the site of a new public library.
Clearly, the HOA’s “gift” came with strings attached.
The library also had to agree to abide by restrictive covenants, and get approval from the Village of Five Points HOA Architectural Committee for any changes or additions to the land parcel.
Not surprisingly, a new library was later built at a different site.
But the HOA is now taking full advantage of collective HOA fees, paid by 584 of its members, to bully the Lewes Public Library into paying hefty fines for putting a book kiosk on its own land.
So far, less than 10 percent of homeowners are complaining about the Little Library. But they’re a vocal minority of Five Points.
HOA President, John Eikrem, explains the motive behind forcing the Library to remove is book kiosk. If the Little Library is allowed to stay, it might prevent the land from reverting back to Five Points.
You see, not only does the HOA want the Library to remove its kiosk. It also wants to “un-gift” the land it donated to the Library in 2012.
Why? Eikrem says the HOA doesn’t want to the Library to sell the land to a developer, who might decide to build commercial property on the site.
The moral of the story: CC&Rs limit property rights of land owners as well as homeowners. Plus, an HOA’s power to fine can reach beyond the community’s physical borders, punishing non-members who have “agreed” by contract to be bound by the same restrictive covenants.
This power is in addition to the HOA’s political pressure against any and all new development near the private community. ♦
Battle of the books continues at Five Points
Meeting planned, but no date set in kiosk fight, by Melissa Steele, The Cape Gazette,
April 3, 2019
Villages of Five Points board throws book at library
Directors issue $6,000 fine, order kiosk removed, Melissa Steele, The Cape Gazette,
March 29, 2019
More examples of HOAs that make life difficult for non-members: