By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
For several decades, local governments have eagerly delegated construction of roads, dams, and stormwater drainage systems to private developers. Even worse, they’ve pawned off maintenance responsibilities to ineffective special district boards and volunteer-led homeowners’ associations.
An increasing number of common interest communities are now living with the aftermath of crumbling infrastructure, and a shortage of money to fix it.
Can CDD leaders in the The Villages fix Alhambra sinkhole problem for good?
The Village of Alhambra has reportedly already spent $200,000 to repair sinkholes. But new sinkholes continue to open up, repeatedly draining a pond adjacent to their homes.
The pond has been plagued with problems for at least a decade. And the latest sinkhole opened up in December.
Homeowners are getting impatient. They naturally expect the CDD (Community Development District) to repair the pond once and for all.
After all, many property owners paid a premium price for their “water view” lot.
Now their property values are in the tank, because, each time a sinkhole appears, owners have nothing more than a smelly mud pit — and an expensive liability.
In its attempt to restore the pond, CDD 2 supervisors may be fighting a losing battle.
New sinkhole confirmed at pond in The Villages where nearly $200,000 already spent
By Meta Minton- Villages-News.com
December 17, 2019
Condo owners stuck with bill for fixing their stormwater pond
Board members of the Villages at Mattapoisett condominium association recently learned that they cannot plead ignorance.
The local Planning Board says the HOA must have a Professional Engineer examine its storm water management system and submit a report, before they will release a $50K surety bond.
A bit of history: When the community was built, the developer was supposed to post the surety bond, but never did.
So condominium owners were forced to put up their own money in 2004. The condo board now claims they have taken action to ensure their stormwater pond is functioning properly.
But the Planning Board says, “not so fast!” The condo association does not have proof of a functioning stormwater management system in the form of an engineer’s certification.
Meanwhile, neighboring property owners have provided the Planning Board with recent photographs documenting flooding on their property, allegedly caused by silt build up in Mattapoisett condo association’s pond.
Condo Association Must Produce Engineering Study
By Marilou Newell, The Wanderer
on January 14, 2020
County agrees to cost-share plan for repair and dedication of HOA’s deteriorating roads
Jefferson County Council has a plan to help its residents in subdivisions with their badly deteriorating private roads.
But, before the County will take ownership and agree to maintain the roads in the future, the County requires homeowners to pay a tax assessment to bring their neighborhood roads up to County Codes.
That means Harmony Hills subdivision must pay $14,000 to get its three roads — Harmony Hills Drive, Harmony Ridge Drive and Cord Circle — in good condition, before the County agrees to take ownership and responsibility for future maintenance. The community’s roads require crack repair and resealing.
According to one local source, Jefferson County “has accepted 49 subdivisions into the program and is maintaining 43 miles of streets in those developments.”
So much for the county’s plans to save money by delegating road maintenance to private community associations.
ICYMI: Subdivision doesn’t get break to fix its streets
By Steve Taylor | Leader Publications
Jan 25, 2020
Did CC&Rs hamstring HOA’s ability to maintain and repair its high hazard dam?
Property owners and residents who live downstream from Winchester Lake Dam are worried. The lake’s old earthen dam could fail at any time and lead to a catastrophic flood.
Winchester Lake’s dam is one of 2,200 privately owned dams in North Carolina — 1,438 of which are designated by NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as “high hazard.”
The small lake is owned by Greystone Village and managed by Greystone Homeowners Association. But downstream property owners say the HOA seems to be ignoring the DEQ order to make repairs to its dam.
The Greystone Village community consists of 800 single-family homes. It’s Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) was written in 1984.
The HOA has legal authority to collect regular and special assessments for the needed repairs. So why has the dam been so neglected, and, despite warnings, still in need of repair.
Greystone Village CC&Rs provide some clues.
The HOA’s initial annual assessment was set at $900 per home. CC&Rs allow the board to increase assessments by up to 5% per year.
But larger increases or special assessments for repairs and capital improvements require advance notice, and a vote of approval from at least two thirds of “each class of members” (Declarant or homeowners) at a duly called meeting.
That’s a huge contradiction: the governing documents require the board to maintain a reserve account for future repairs, but then constrain the HOA board from raising assessments more than 5% per year without approval of members.
Perhaps the HOA board has avoided assessment increases? Or maybe HOA members have not been willing to pay higher assessments to keep up with the high cost of maintenance of its dam?
Raleigh residents claim neighbors, state officials ignoring deteriorating dam
By Jonah Kaplan
Monday, January 20, 2020 6:02PMRALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD)
Homeowners demand County force developer to finish community roads, drainage
Bainbridge neighborhood residents are fed up with their pothole-filled road. For several years, they have been pressuring the community’s developer to pave their road with a top layer, and add a functional storm water drainage system.
Now, as construction in the development is winding down, homeowners are asking Madison County Council to call letters of credit ($68,000) and place construction liens on 5 remaining unsold houses in the amount of $100,000.
Bainbridge’s developer-investor group is headed by Arthur Noble. County leaders say it’s Noble’s responsibility to finish the roads and drainage infrastructure in the community.
Unfortunately, the only support council has offered to homeowners so far is some tough talk, vowing remind Noble about living up to his company’s commitments.
Perhaps some strict enforcement of building codes is needed at this point?
Bainbridge HOA asks for help with roads
By TYLER CLEVELAND, Madison County Journal
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 12:00 PM
Homeowner says neighboring HOA’s dysfunctional stormwater pond leads to landslides, loss of his back yard
For more than two years, a homeowner has been unsuccessful in getting anyone to take responsibility for poor drainage and at least three landslides behind his home.
Richard Schwartz says the problem is caused by a stormwater retention pond situated just uphill from his back yard. His home is part of the Osprey Pointe homeowners association. But the stormwater pond is owned by neighborhing Cassini View homeowners association.
In 2018, the city hired Hart Crowser, an engineer, to evaluate the situation. Crowser wrote, in his report, that there are several manmade causes for the landslides.
The report notes the combination of a very steep hillside leading to a ravine, poor quality fill soils, and leaks from the retention pond continue to destabilize the slope.
Cassini View HOA reportedly made repairs in 2017, byt that didn’t resolve the problems.
Schwartz say the City should have supervised the HOA’s repairs, but they did not.
So Schwartz is now suing the city of Ridgefield and Cassini View homeowners association, in an attempt to recover $70,000 he has already spent trying to stabilize his back yard.
The engineer estimates it will cost $150,000 or more to stabilize the hillside.
Landslide brings Ridgefield man down
He says city, neighboring homeowners association to blame for damage to property
Published: January 11, 2020, 6:05am ♦