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Subject: Baby gate on front porch
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Author Messages
SusanF10
(Arizona)

Posts:2


01/09/2018 9:17 PM  
I like to go outside with my dogs in the morning and have coffee on my front porch. When I do so, I bring a baby gate outside so my dogs can be contained. When I'm done I bring the gate inside. My HOA said I am violating the rules by having a fence. I see a baby gate as a personal item I bring outside with me not as a fence. It is not attached to anything and it does not stay out there for more than an hour or two. The Cc&r's say a lot about construction and approvals of fences but I'm pretty sure they don't mean a foldable baby gate. Meanwhile my neighbor 6 doors down has the IDENTICAL babygate and she keeps hers out 24/7 for all 6 years. When I ask for an explanation I'm told they cannot discuss other neighbors with me. When I argue a baby gate is not what they mean by fencing she changes the charge to "storage--nuisance". When I argue that it's not stored if taken in and out, her response was I will be fined if I do it again and she will not discuss this issue with me any longer. (In other words, she refuses to answer my questions). Please help.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:510


01/09/2018 10:12 PM  
WHO is "she?" the CM or BOD?


I would ignore her, when a violation letter arrives in the mail request a hearing to argue your case in front of the BOD. In the interim take pictures with time and date stamps
and enjoy your coffee on your stoop with the pooches.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:510


01/09/2018 10:13 PM  
Take pics of the other home you question.
SusanF10
(Arizona)

Posts:2


01/10/2018 1:34 AM  
The "she" is a woman who works for our homeowners property management company. On her correspondence she uses the title of "community manager". She has already sent me two violation letters. In our last correspondence she stated she would no longer discuss the matter and if a third violation letter goes out she may fine me. I wonder if I brought a bicycle onto the porch with me I would still receive a violation. Hmm, a bike is about the same size barrier!!!. There is nothing in the cc&r's about bikes but there is a clause about storing items they deem a nuisance. Im sure she'd tell me my bike was a nuisance if she couldn't pin me with "storage". Can she really limit me on what I may take out onto the porch for periods of time?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7671


01/10/2018 4:22 AM  
It could be what your containing with the baby gate than the gate itself. People may feel uncomfortable with such a small gate holding back dogs. Which is probably the real issue here. I myself own 3 dogs but would never allow them in the front yard area. My neighbor would do this and it did bother me a bit. Mostly because they were unleashed and often wondered off a bit. Which put the dogs in my yard or toward the road. Not that I did not love the dogs. It's just me and my neighbor did not get along. Their dogs getting onto my property put us at risk of issues.

Mind you these dogs were Pomeranians. One of which did try to bite me once. It doesn't matter the size of the dog but the size of the fear of the dog. We had someone posting here they were uncomfortable with a dog that was in another yard that would look like it was walking towards them. So seeing a baby gate is the only thing holding back the dogs could make a few neighbors nervous.

Former HOA President
FredS7
(Arizona)

Posts:854


01/10/2018 7:16 AM  
> On her correspondence she uses the title of "community manager".

The community manager SHOULD have the authorization of the board in order to send violation letters. Consider (1) not using the fence for the time being and (2) attending the next board meeting and making the case to the board that it should be acceptable.

(I am assuming that the board allows time for owner comment. If not, you have another bigger problem).
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:724


01/10/2018 8:22 AM  
I would ask her if she has approval from the board to send these violation letters pertaining to the baby gate. I would also talk directly to the board about this. Be polite.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


01/10/2018 8:28 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/10/2018 4:22 AM
It could be what your containing with the baby gate than the gate itself. People may feel uncomfortable with such a small gate holding back dogs. Which is probably the real issue here. I myself own 3 dogs but would never allow them in the front yard area. My neighbor would do this and it did bother me a bit. Mostly because they were unleashed and often wondered off a bit. Which put the dogs in my yard or toward the road. Not that I did not love the dogs. It's just me and my neighbor did not get along. Their dogs getting onto my property put us at risk of issues.

Mind you these dogs were Pomeranians. One of which did try to bite me once. It doesn't matter the size of the dog but the size of the fear of the dog. We had someone posting here they were uncomfortable with a dog that was in another yard that would look like it was walking towards them. So seeing a baby gate is the only thing holding back the dogs could make a few neighbors nervous.



Exactly what does a violation letter for a fence have anything to do with dogs?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2282


01/10/2018 10:35 AM  
The community manager should be working on behalf of the board, so you really should take this up with them, especially since the last part of your issue sounds like things got heated between you two. When people start raising their voices and clapping back at each other, that's when real problems can start, so try to be cordial but professional (makes the manager look like a real butthole in comparison).

If that letter had any on appeal rights (and it should), use that process and document your efforts (e.g. called the manger on X date and asked how to file an appeal, sent the appeal letter on Y date, etc.)
Attend a board meeting, if necessary, with photos of your neighbor's fence and make an appeal request in person. Hopefully
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5767


01/10/2018 2:09 PM  
Fred & Douglas, does AZ require that Owners be invited to hearings before they're fined?? In other words, isn't there any due process in AZ about procedures for fining Owners?

Susan, don't your HOA governing documents say how owners might be disciplined?? Warnings? Fines? What? sometimes these are in an HOA's Rules.

DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:724


01/10/2018 2:15 PM  
Kerry, I can't answer that. My neighborhood is so rural and has so few covenants I haven't had to fine anyone, or even send out violation letters.

I guess I could look it up.....
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5767


01/10/2018 3:34 PM  
It might be helpful to Susan, but then again, Fred might know offhand.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


01/11/2018 11:24 PM  
The argument that a baby gate is a fence or storage (especially used temporarily) is just silly unless your CC&Rs define it as such. It sounds to me like she does not like what you are doing and is searching for something in the CC&Rs to justify her decision. The fact that she changed her reason when questioned is evidence of that.

In Texas, if there is not clearly a violation (it is unambiguous) the courts have to rule in favor of the owner. I seem to remember seeing on this forum that AZ has the same rule. Maybe someone from AZ can answer that.

I would politely tell her that you do not believe you are in violation of the CC&Rs but you will be happy to reconsider if she can point to a specific clause that you have violated.

I would not worry yet about the other violation down the street. It's possible she told that owner the same thing and they refused to remove their baby gate. Generally, one or two other owners with the same violation would not be a defense.
PaiN


Posts:0


01/12/2018 6:07 AM  
..... I would politely tell her that you do not believe you are in violation of the CC&Rs but you will be happy to reconsider if she can point to a specific clause that you have violated. .....



PERFECT
FredS7
(Arizona)

Posts:854


01/12/2018 7:42 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 01/10/2018 2:09 PM
Fred & Douglas, does AZ require that Owners be invited to hearings before they're fined?? In other words, isn't there any due process in AZ about procedures for fining Owners?

Susan, don't your HOA governing documents say how owners might be disciplined?? Warnings? Fines? What? sometimes these are in an HOA's Rules.





I believe we have issued fines without a hearing.

I am not suggesting requesting a hearing. I suggest just attending a meeting (which any owner is entitled to do) and to comment during the comment portion. OP would find out if this letter was board-authorized.

If it was NOT I suspect the community manager would be deeply embarrassed.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5767


01/12/2018 8:32 AM  
Susan wrote that the "response was I will be fined if I do it again and she will not discuss this issue with me any longer. (In other words, she refuses to answer my questions)."

I'm surprised, Fred, that AZ seems to have no due process statutes to permit Owners from unreasonable fines. In other words, aren't hearings with the Board require before an alleged violator can be fined?

Meantime, with paiN, I like ben's idea. I also agree with Fred to take it to a board meeting and ask about the topic during open forum. Do not bring up the opted alleged violator.

Btw, I wonder if it's the dogs, not the gate, that bothers the Mgr.??
MichelleK5
(New York)

Posts:161


01/12/2018 10:08 AM  
What we did was get a contractor to build a gate into our railing where the opening leads to the steps. It looks exactly like the railing only difference is it swings out and locks. Our HOA couldn't do anything about it, but it was a way to keep our dogs confined to the decks. Is that an option for you? Like this:
https://www.google.com/search?q=decks+with+gates+that+are+part+of+the+railing&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjthIiAgtPYAhWCUt8KHZdRADIQsAQI-QE&biw=1891&bih=934#imgrc=sZ2WI5zqZgrcXM:

FredS7
(Arizona)

Posts:854


01/12/2018 2:24 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 01/12/2018 8:32 AM
Susan wrote that the "response was I will be fined if I do it again and she will not discuss this issue with me any longer. (In other words, she refuses to answer my questions)."

I'm surprised, Fred, that AZ seems to have no due process statutes to permit Owners from unreasonable fines. In other words, aren't hearings with the Board require before an alleged violator can be fined?

Meantime, with paiN, I like ben's idea. I also agree with Fred to take it to a board meeting and ask about the topic during open forum. Do not bring up the opted alleged violator.

Btw, I wonder if it's the dogs, not the gate, that bothers the Mgr.??




I was not on the board the last time we issued a fine.

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