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Subject: Shed Obstructing View
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HeikeV
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/28/2019 10:17 AM  
Here is my case and I am looking for some input on how to handle the situation without necessarily involving a lawyer:

CC&R; Architecural Control:
No building, fence, wall or other structure shall be commenced, erected or maintained upon the Properties, not shall any exterior addition to or change or alteration therein be made until the plans and specifications showing the nature, kind, shape, height, materials and location of the same shall have been submitted to and approved in writing as to harmony of external design and location in relation to surrounding structures and topography by the Developer prior to the completion of the development and thereafter by the Board of Directors of the Association, or by an architectural committee composed of three (3) or more representatives appointed by the Board. In the vent said Board, or its designated committee, fails to approve or disapprove such design and location within thirty (30) days after said plans and specifications have been submitted it, it shall be presumed that the Board disapproves said plane and no changes or alterations are permitted.

So, one day across my backyard and visible from my living space (kitchen, living room, guest and master bedroom as well, of course, the backyard) this construction goes up. First, admittedly, I didn't think much of it since previous owners had RV's that could be easily moved out of sight between the house and the wall, which I thought would happen here again. Well, I was very wrong. I asked the President of the HOA what it is and he said, "Oh, just a shed!" I then proceeded to this neighbor to ask whether this installation is permanent or will me moved out of my sightline. He said that it is, in fact, permanent at this location and height. He continued that the HOA President approved it after he had submitted the plans to him and that it is to county specification.
I was floored. Being Secretary of the Board and the impacted neighbor I didn't know what to reply. Incidentally, the next day we had a scheduled Board meeting.

I send an email to the President to be ready to answer some hard questions on the construction across my line of sight from every angle. As a side note he resigned, stating some family occurrences and being too busy to keep up but retracted without it being recorded on his wish in the minutes during the Board meeting. In this meeting he addressed the construction and apologized to the Board for not submitting the plans to the Board and admitted that he alone approved the building, if county specification are being followed. Now, I don't know how hard it is to read plans since I never seen any of them or what measurements and location they include.
Next, in the meeting, an Architectural Committee was created. I said I would abide by their resolution and that I would be home over the weekend to have the committee come by and look at my obstructed view. I made very, very clear that I have nothing against a shed in his backyard but I want it either moved or reduced in height. The committee never showed up. On Wednesday after the meeting I receive the following from the HOA President addressed to the full board:

All,

Upon the recommendations of the HOA board at the last meeting, I took the liberty to poll as many neighbors adjacent to the shed construction as were available. Of the 7 neighbors that I visited, 3 were available for comment. When asked if either they approve or disapprove of the shed construction, all three stated approve.

I spoke personally to all 3 Architectural Control Board Members after the polling. I explained the neighborhood polling outcome and the proposed amendment to Architectural Control that was discussed in last Saturday's Board Meeting. All three Architectural Control Board Members voted to approve the shed construction.

Based upon the neighborhood polling, and the votes of the Architectural Board, the shed construction is approved and will continue. However, I will ask Tom if he would be able to reduce the vertical footprint of the shed down to the bare minimum.

As was stated in several board meetings, our CC&R's are quite vague, and in need of modification and updates. As we become more organized, and encounter other situations, we must be flexible, yet determined to modify those situations that pose an issue to the board and to the community.

Thank you all for your assistance and support regarding matters pertaining to our HOA. I feel lucky to have such outstanding Board Members and neighbors such as yourself.

Regards,

I was, and not a little, irritated that the committee never showed up and that the President instead of removing himself from this case involved himself even more. Additionally, in mu opinion
he seemed to have influenced the committee members against me to cover his butt for the wrong doing. He also said the would talk to the neighbor about the height and when I saw that construction is commencing and texted the President he said he had talked to the neighbor and that the neighbor promised to keep the roof as flat as possible. I am livid every time I look out my windows or step into my back. I am unable to attache jpg but cannot even start to see how this thing will look once it manages to get finished.

What are my options? I requested the reasons for approval based on the Architectural Control section of the CC&R's but am being ignored. I now, of course, do not trust the board to do the right thing if it goes back in front of it, which I might manage based on the architectural section.

Thank you for reading!


GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1469


11/28/2019 10:34 AM  
Sounds like once the ACB approved, and assuming there is not specific CCR language prohibiting sheds, your only recourse would be to due your neighbor.

Low probability of a win in court, though. Especially if there are other examples of sheds in the community.
AugustinD


Posts:2045


11/28/2019 11:07 AM  
I think the only substantive legal argument you have is the failure of your neighbor to submit the detail the HOA requires. I suggest sending the following letter to the board:

----
Dear Board of Directors and Architectural Committee,

CC&R ____ requires a specific procedure to be followed when a member wishes to build a structure on her or his lot. Pursuant to the latter CC&R, I respectfully request that you have HOA member _____ submit "the plans and specifications showing the nature, kind, shape, height, materials and location of the" structure he proposed to be permanent, as recently discussed by the board. Subsequently I respectfully request that you provide approval or disapproval of this structure "in writing as to harmony of external design and location in relation to surrounding structures and topography."

Please provide me a copy of the plans and specifications and a copy of your written approval or disapproval within 30 days. If you are unwilling to do this, then please let me know by December 15, 2019.

Thank you,

Jane and John Doe
Member, ____ HOA
---

Subsequently and for further suggestions, please update this forum with what the board and committee say.
AugustinD


Posts:2045


11/28/2019 11:12 AM  
You might also add to the letter to the board and committee that a failure to document exactly what has been approved may result in neighbor Tom making changes to his shed subsequently that in fact the Board and committee would not approve.

Keep emotion and hyperbole out of the letter. The facts speak loudest all by themselves.
HeikeV
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/29/2019 8:06 AM  
Wow -- thank you very much, excellent suggestion. I will do so immediately.

Heike
HeikeV
(Arizona)

Posts:5


11/30/2019 7:17 AM  
After I send the letter to the President, Architectural Committee and the rest of the board the President, once again, resigned, effective immediately! He accused me of blowing the "damn shed" issue out of proportion and that he is tired of taking the displeasure and anger of homeowners.

Should the Board call a meeting at this point? The next regular meeting is scheduled for January 11. One board member asked him to stay on until then but got no response.

As a board member and the impacted neighbor should I contact the shed building neighbor to cease construction at this point and would I need the board's approval to do so?

I am just not sure how to move forward at this point since the committee approved the shed but only after the wrongly given approval by the (then) President.

Thank you for any guidance!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1469


11/30/2019 10:03 AM  
The shed has already been approved and installed - or installed and approved - by the Board.

You cannot obviously change this unilaterally as a board member.

You can work the process to reset the Board, but I'm not sure even that will get you where you want to go. Would need to have meeting, note that the Board and ACB has made a mistake, then withdraw the approval from both.

AugustinD


Posts:2045


11/30/2019 11:34 AM  
Did this person resign as both President and director? There is a difference between the two positions.

Did this person follow the correct procedure for resigning? If so, then there's no going back without following the correct procedure to re-instate him. This is the advice of a HOA attorney where I once lived. There's no such thing as a 'temporary resignation' or whatever this person wants to call his resignation.

Of course, if your board is ignoring procedures, then it is going to do what it is going to do, and you will have to battle unlawful conduct or put up with it as best you can.

As a single director, you have zero authority to tell the neighbor anything on this subject.

As a neighbor, you could send a certified letter to neighbor Tom and tell Tom you have objected to the shed because the CC&Rs were not followed; that you have asked the board and architectural committee to comply with CC&R ___; and you would appreciate a copy of whatever he submits to the board and arch committee, pursuant to CC&R ____. Of course, this is going to go over like a lead balloon. But documenting your attempts to have the CC&Rs followed may be important if you pursue this in the courts at some point.

You can try to get the board to meet earlier, or you can try to get unanimous approval by email from all directors to instruct the neighbor to cease construction, on account of the board wishing to review everything for lawfulness yada.

It is likely there will be much ugliness in the coming weeks. It is the nature of HOAs. You have to decide if it's all worth it.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8867


11/30/2019 1:06 PM  
If they allow RV's to be parked in a yard thus blocking views, I doubt the argument of the shed blocks my view will fly.
HeikeV
(Arizona)

Posts:5


12/01/2019 7:07 AM  
All,

thank you for responding and providing insight. I guess, I lost! My city seems to only have lawyers for HOA and the next anti-HOA is 150 miles away. It is just so sad because when I look at realty ads all have view as a major selling point and my mountain view was just replaced with view of a shed.

I will resign my BoD because I really do not want to be part of this kangaroo board. They can re-instate their President and make this a military installation like he wants.

Again, thank you all for responding to my inquiry and providing insight.

Heike
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1469


12/01/2019 8:24 AM  
Heike,

It doesn’t sound like a kangaroo board - it sounds like you are giving up, mainly because you didn’t get what you wanted ...
HeikeV
(Arizona)

Posts:5


12/01/2019 8:58 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/01/2019 8:24 AM
Heike,

It doesn’t sound like a kangaroo board - it sounds like you are giving up, mainly because you didn’t get what you wanted ...





You are correct: I am giving up! I neither have the time or the money to go after them legally. And, if they don't want to do what is right then there is no recourse. I am sure they will have strict architectural rules in place shortly and nobody can build a dog house in the future. Yes, I am bitter because the whole board seems to be in cohorts. Nobody responded to my emails or letter with at least the dimensions of the shed much less the written approval from the committee. What else can I do? I can do public shaming on NextDoor or go to the Annual Meeting and tell a story ... but like Augustin said: is it worth it?

RV parking in back yards are not mentioned and the 2 previous owners of the house across were kind enough at my request to move it to the side of the house between the wall and house, out of sight. There was enough room for an RV but seemingly not for a shed.

Heike
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:501


12/01/2019 1:18 PM  
Check for yourself with the county and other local government to see if it is actually approved and permits pulled.
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