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Subject: Closing community playgrounds
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Author Messages
NathanL1
(Texas)

Posts:8


03/25/2020 11:44 AM  
Hey everyone, I hope everyone is well. How are you guys handling your common areas specifically playgrounds in pavilions? Thanks in advance for any input
NathanL1
(Texas)

Posts:8


03/25/2020 11:46 AM  
Sorry, I meant to say playgrounds AND pavilions and covered areas, picnic tables etc.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7037


03/25/2020 11:56 AM  
We close all our common area amenities a couple of weeks ago. We left a BBQ area with two big stainless grills open as we're high rise with small balconies. To keep the BBQ area safe, staff removed the tables and chairs so that residents no longer can congregate there. We have two Lounges or "party rooms" which we closed. The gym, pool & spa & lounges all are accessed by a fob so the locks were deactivated so that no one can use them.

The main problem in keeping any of these open is that too many will congregate too close together, and the constant need for custodians to clean & sanitize is beyond our budget. I'd say the same goes with your playgrounds & pavilions, who's going to keep cleaning & sanitizing the equipment?


It'd be easy to close the pavaillions IF the tables and benches aren't fixed. They can be removed & stored. Closing playgrounds might be much tougher if they aren't fenced.

I don't think TX has a stay-at-home order (yet), right?
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:188


03/25/2020 12:43 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/25/2020 11:56 AM
We close all our common area amenities a couple of weeks ago. We left a BBQ area with two big stainless grills open as we're high rise with small balconies. To keep the BBQ area safe, staff removed the tables and chairs so that residents no longer can congregate there. We have two Lounges or "party rooms" which we closed. The gym, pool & spa & lounges all are accessed by a fob so the locks were deactivated so that no one can use them.

The main problem in keeping any of these open is that too many will congregate too close together, and the constant need for custodians to clean & sanitize is beyond our budget. I'd say the same goes with your playgrounds & pavilions, who's going to keep cleaning & sanitizing the equipment?


It'd be easy to close the pavaillions IF the tables and benches aren't fixed. They can be removed & stored. Closing playgrounds might be much tougher if they aren't fenced.

I don't think TX has a stay-at-home order (yet), right?





Have you had any complaints from residents on closed facilities?
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:28


03/25/2020 1:42 PM  
These areas should be closed. Make sure residents know that these facilities are closed, and give a brief explanation as to why they are closed. Is it possible to rope these areas off as well? Removing seats and tables is a great idea if it can be done.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/25/2020 8:58 PM  
All facilities with doors and gates are closed and locked. Signs posted in common parks closed, but folks still out and about.

Formal notice sent via email explaining closures.

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/25/2020 8:59 PM  
Haven’t heard any complaints, but if I did I would be nice and say, “sorry.”
NathanL1
(Texas)

Posts:8


03/26/2020 2:45 PM  
All of our facilities are outdoors.
We have a playground, and a covered pavilion with 4 tables.

As of now, our thinking is we will put the responsibility on the residents to clean prior, during, and after use of the playground, and stay out of the pavilion.
We have cameras as well that I check.

If it becomes a problem, I will put police caution tape around these facilities.

I want normalcy as much as possible with health in mind.

During this time, I have to say, our neighborhood looks the best I have ever seen it!!! Trees being clipped, grass mowed and edged, power washing houses!!

Lots of residents walking the trails and sidewalks enjoying the weather, while keeping safe distance..

This is home. People know the rules. I dont want people driving past our beautiful park and seeing yellow tape everywhere... they see and feel enough of it when they leave the neighborhood.

Thoughts?

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/26/2020 3:52 PM  
Posted By NathanL1 on 03/26/2020 2:45 PM
All of our facilities are outdoors.
We have a playground, and a covered pavilion with 4 tables.

As of now, our thinking is we will put the responsibility on the residents to clean prior, during, and after use of the playground, and stay out of the pavilion.
We have cameras as well that I check.

If it becomes a problem, I will put police caution tape around these facilities.

I want normalcy as much as possible with health in mind.

During this time, I have to say, our neighborhood looks the best I have ever seen it!!! Trees being clipped, grass mowed and edged, power washing houses!!

Lots of residents walking the trails and sidewalks enjoying the weather, while keeping safe distance..

This is home. People know the rules. I dont want people driving past our beautiful park and seeing yellow tape everywhere... they see and feel enough of it when they leave the neighborhood.

Thoughts?





My concern would be liability. You know people won't clean adequately. What happens if you do what you've outlined and you suddenly get covid-19 cases in your community? What happens if someone gets seriously ill, or even dies? This is a stressful time, grieving people can be irrational at the best of times. What happens if someone files a lawsuit because the HOA didn't protect them from a hazardous situation?

We haven't seen any covid-19 lawsuits yet, but there have been cases where an HOA lost a lawsuit because they failed to maintain their recreational equipment to the necessary safety standards. "Use at your own risk" didn't fly in those cases, and environments and equipment must be disinfected constantly to keep them relatively safe. The latest data show that virus particles can linger on surfaces for hours, even days on steel.

Personally, I think leaving it up to the individual homeowners would be abdicating my responsibility as a board member and failing in my fiduciary duties. If this were my community we would be removing the play equipment and any tables or seating - people can step over caution tape. You want to discourage groups, not provide a place for people to congregate.
NathanL1
(Texas)

Posts:8


03/26/2020 4:54 PM  
Absolutely everything that we have is in concrete and cement. We do not have the option of removing a $65,000 play structure or removing tables that are set in cement. The only option we can use, is putting caution tape around it that’s all we can do.
All of us here, as directors, have too many responsibilities, one is upholding the governing documents to the best of our ability and two, maintaining and improving the common areas. That is it. No of course we do much more because we care for our neighborhood, but I think in this case we shall let the homeowners decide.
NathanL1
(Texas)

Posts:8


03/26/2020 4:58 PM  
For some reason, I cant edit my posts, and typing this all out on a smartphone is very tedious. Let me try this again

Absolutely everything that we have is in concrete and cement. We do not have the option of removing a $65,000 play structure or removing tables that are set in cement. The only option we can use, is putting caution tape around it. That’s all we can do.

All of us here, as directors, have two main responsibilities, one is upholding the governing documents to the best of our ability and two, maintaining and improving the common areas. That is it.

Of course we do much more because we care for our neighborhood, but I think in this case we shall let the homeowners decide.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/26/2020 5:17 PM  
Our signage ‘Park Closed” are out in our parks - and, ignored.

Not much else is possible, in my mind, with open parks, that are owned by those using them.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:613


03/26/2020 7:53 PM  
We closed our pool. Even with cool weather it was getting crowded. We will discuss cancelling all clubhouse rentals at our next meeting. Our park, playground, and pavilions don't get enough use to prevent social distancing. That could change if the recommendations by the experts change.

Our county does not currently have a shelter in place order.
AugustinD


Posts:2906


03/26/2020 8:10 PM  
I am reading daily now about a doctor, nurse or other health care worker who has died from exposure to COVID-19 as a result of helping patients. There isn't enough PPE, and there likely has been insufficient training in using same. Imagine a hospital trying to hire a new nurse to replace the one who died. Increasingly I believe health care professionals will see employment as a suicide mission (Hippocratic oath be damned) and refuse to work. This is going to exacerbate the daily numbers further. Things will get better but not without a lot more death. I have not heard reports of shortages of morphine to help those suffering pass without pain. But I have read reports from New York that in some hospitals, when a doctor finally gets to a patient, the patient has died.

I am just waiting for the reports of all the Senators who now have COVID-19 due to Senator (and MD) Rand Paul. That's great: Shut down the Senate, one of the principal checks against abuses of power by the Executive and Judicial branches. Maybe this furthers Rand Paul's Libertarian Ideologies. Maybe he's just 110% idiot.

I believe this country and the world will be in for one helluva ride.

I believe lawsuits by individuals against HOAs for keeping their playgrounds open are either (a) not going to happen, or (b) if they do, judges everywhere re going to slam the attorneys representing such plaintiffs hard. I do think HOA's should post notices closing playgrounds, pools and clubhouses.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/26/2020 8:20 PM  
Ben,

IMO, you are significantly behind the timeline.

I urge you to shut down your clubhouse, pool, facilities, etc.

Sure, some will be upset - vs the obvious danger?

It’s time to lead.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:707


03/26/2020 9:18 PM  
This is from an article dated September 18, 2018

NEW YORK — An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter — the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades.

I hate to see anyone die before their time, BUT how much of the country is shut down because of the flu. I get my flu shot every year and a pneumonia shot every five years. 17 years ago I had double pneumonia, so I know what that feels like.

There is something more about this COVID-19 that the world is not being told. America now leads the world in infected individuals, and those numbers could be only 1/10 of the real number.

My opinion is this is being handled half-ass backwards. We should be protecting those we know that are at risk, which might be the 10%, not locking up 100%.

In two weeks, I will be traveling back to Florida from California. I might be at risk, but I will not lose any sleep over it.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/26/2020 9:27 PM  
Figures, Mark.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:707


03/26/2020 9:40 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/26/2020 9:27 PM
Figures, Mark.



You have a better answer?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/27/2020 4:40 AM  
Posted By MarkW18 on 03/26/2020 9:40 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/26/2020 9:27 PM
Figures, Mark.



You have a better answer?




I do.

Influenza is a common disease that humans have lived with for generations, our immune systems have gotten a look at it and we have some her immunity, we have somewhat effective vaccines and treatments, and the death rate from influenza is about 0.1% - 1 person out of every thousand infections with healthcare systems that have not been overwhelmed (usually).

By contrast, covid-19 has been loose among humans for a few months, we have no vaccine, no treatments, the population has no herd immunity, and the death rates in western countries range from 0.4% (Germany) all the way up to over 10% (Italy). Significantly more lethal than flu. Models predict that an unconstrained outbreak in the US will produce over 1 million deaths from the disease alone, along with increased mortality from other causes because the healthcare system has collapsed under the weight of covid-19 patients. This can and probably will result in societal unrest and breakdown as people shoot other people who are trying to take their food, 'cause god knows we loves our guns in this country.

We appear to be on the Italy trajectory rather than the German one - in other words, attempts to constrain the virus with the usual pockets of resistance among the uninformed and stubborn, with the healthcare system being rapidly pushed to its limits. The WHO reports that the next epicenter of the disease will likely be the US.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/27/2020 4:47 AM  
OT: the cynical and amoral investor types should be buying shares in funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries - also in drug companies that are working on vaccines and treatments.

Prediction: this is going to be with us in some form until we've developed enough immunity through prior infection or vaccination that the virus can no longer spread.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:893


03/27/2020 6:48 AM  
Well, out out an abundance of caution, we cordoned off our playground area with caution tape and posted signs that the playground was closed until further notice. Our lawyer said those two actions will take the association out of the equation for liability.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:707


03/27/2020 7:34 AM  
The common denominator is one's immune system. We have a vaccine for the flu and 80,000 people died in the US as the article stated. People will get the COVID-19 and 95-99% will get better. Those with a insufficient immune system will be at a very high risk. My daughter is at highest of that list with a auto-immune disease of which there is treatment, but no cure.

People are walking around in the world carrying this COVID-19 and have no symptoms. They are not going to be tested. It was reported this morning, an aircraft carrier, USS Teddy Roosevelt has 30 confirmed cases. They have a crew of 5,000 and will test only those who show symptoms. If you have ever been on an aircraft carrier, they don't have 5,000 staterooms you can quarantine people in.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:188


03/27/2020 10:38 AM  
Someone in our community complained about the pool being closed, citing the CDC that he virus does not spread through the use of pools and copied an attorney on the email.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7037


03/27/2020 10:56 AM  
Do you have a question, NpB? Is the person aware that it's not the pool per se, but everything related to it that pool users touch, sit on, etc.?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/27/2020 10:58 AM  
Posted By NpB on 03/27/2020 10:38 AM
Someone in our community complained about the pool being closed, citing the CDC that he virus does not spread through the use of pools and copied an attorney on the email.




It's probably true that the virus won't spread in chlorinated water. It will, however, pass person to person as folks congregate at pool side and contaminate the furniture and toys, and kids horse around with each other. These are the real issues, the pool water is a red herring.

I recommend sticking to your guns.


NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:188


03/27/2020 11:07 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 03/27/2020 10:58 AM
Posted By NpB on 03/27/2020 10:38 AM
Someone in our community complained about the pool being closed, citing the CDC that he virus does not spread through the use of pools and copied an attorney on the email.




It's probably true that the virus won't spread in chlorinated water. It will, however, pass person to person as folks congregate at pool side and contaminate the furniture and toys, and kids horse around with each other. These are the real issues, the pool water is a red herring.

I recommend sticking to your guns.







Agree.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:188


03/27/2020 11:13 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/27/2020 10:56 AM
Do you have a question, NpB? Is the person aware that it's not the pool per se, but everything related to it that pool users touch, sit on, etc.?





Just wanted to bring it to people's attention that you might have some complainers who think the Board is mismanaging the community by closing facilities.
NathanL1
(Texas)

Posts:8


03/28/2020 8:27 PM  
This was my post.
I am gathering that the majority puts signs out, but that really is the gist of it.
The members pay for the commons. It is their property. I am being conservative with this, but I still stand and say leave it up to the homeowners judgement!!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/28/2020 8:39 PM  
Nathan,

Likely that will not be sufficient defense.

Being proactive in communication and action is needed to avoid liability.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/29/2020 5:34 AM  
Here's the difference between the HOA board making the decision and leaving it up to the homeowners:

The board has a fiduciary duty to the HOA and must act in its best interest (for example, protecting it from uninsured liabilities). And this duty is "the law" - in other words, people can sue the HOA or the board for negligence, and the court system will likely agree.

Homeowners are free to act in their own self interest.

So a homeowner who has the virus and who is mildly ill can use the facilities without bothering to clean up after himself. I believe that he has a moral duty to his fellow homeowners, but there are no HOA laws that say he has such a duty. And we all know folks who believe that the world revolves around them and to heck with everybody else.

With this is mind, responsible board members will do everything they can to minimize the chances of homeowners passing covid-19 among themselves. That means closing amenities to the extent possible; disinfecting if needed; notifying homeowners via signage, newsletters, website, etc.; and keeping on top of the latest news and pronouncements from scientists and governmental officials about what's happening in your immediate area. HOA boards will want a track record of being proactive when the lawsuits start.

Cathy's Bold Prediction #13: There will be covid-19 lawsuits.

AugustinD


Posts:2906


03/29/2020 7:24 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 03/29/2020 5:34 AM
Cathy's Bold Prediction #13: There will be covid-19 lawsuits.
My wager is there will be zero COVID-19 lawsuits brought against HOAs.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/29/2020 7:26 AM  
Yeah I agree with no one winning a Covid-19 lawsuit not that one won't be filed... Plus how you going to prove your case? So little testing in our area that you can't even get one. Well unless you pretend to have symptoms and a doctor's note you have a chance...

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:2906


03/29/2020 7:48 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 03/29/2020 7:26 AM
So little testing in our area that you can't even get one.
You folks in Alabama, population about 4.9 million, have tested about 4800 people as of this writing, with a rate of 1 / 1000 having been tested. yielding 762 confirmed cases and four deaths. My state has an aggressive governor. Obtaining test results still takes a long time. Still, at present my state has tested at a rate five times Alabama's, or 5 per 1000, with much fewer confirmed cases and deaths vis-a-vis Alabama. If I were in Alabama, I'd be braced.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/29/2020 8:16 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 03/29/2020 7:24 AM
Posted By CathyA3 on 03/29/2020 5:34 AM
Cathy's Bold Prediction #13: There will be covid-19 lawsuits.
My wager is there will be zero COVID-19 lawsuits brought against HOAs.




You're probably right, and we'll have bigger fish to fry for quite a while. But given the silliness we sometimes see in HOAs and COAs, I'm not willing to bet money on it.

Ohio's governor has also been aggressive about dealing with the pandemic, being one of the first to ban large gatherings in his state. However, we've been at the end of the line as far as getting test kits, so our testing has been nowhere near where it needs to be, and we badly need protective equipment for health care workers (right now around 17% of our diagnosed cases are health care workers). One bright spot: Battelle, an Ohio-based R&D non-profit, has developed a process to sterilize and resuse protective gear, just waiting on FDA approval to begin rolling it out.

The governor has also said that when we start to loosen up restrictions, businesses will be required to maintain all the safety procedures that were in place before they closed, and if they can't then they won't be allowed to re-open. Timeline to be determined by epidemiology. Non-negotiable, he said.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/29/2020 8:19 AM  
Believe me NONE of us are happy. They even closed a test center because they ran out of tests. We only had 2 in town anyways. 1 is for Flu testing and will NOT test you for Covid-19 unless you meet the criteria. They finally put a doctor onsite but again that is the site ran out of tests. Heard there is a van but they won't disclose the location.

I have a friend whom has been trying to get tested for a week. Even has a doctor's note. He still got turned away because he had no symptoms! So he's been out of work this whole time in quarantine without knowing if he's got it or not. Which means work may not excuse it without a test.

Just to make it real. Someone tested positive in my office area. Luckily, I don't work on that floor. Knew they had been sick. Their doctor didn't even run a test on them and said it was sinuses! They went back a week later and got a positive result. The whole time being cleared to be at work!

So I've been self quarantined and quasi-forced quarantined for a month now... Just trips to the store. Taking dogs for a walk where no one is at. Very frustrated because I still do NOT qualify to take a test. If it wasn't for this horrible pollen, I wouldn't be going to WebMD watching every symptom... LOL!

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


03/29/2020 8:27 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 03/29/2020 8:19 AM
...
So I've been self quarantined and quasi-forced quarantined for a month now... Just trips to the store. Taking dogs for a walk where no one is at. Very frustrated because I still do NOT qualify to take a test. If it wasn't for this horrible pollen, I wouldn't be going to WebMD watching every symptom... LOL!




I've been about the same, and yes this has been a horrible year for allergies already.

I saw this do-it-yourself covid-19 test, and there is some reasoning behind it. First, take your temperature once a day for a few days so that you know what baseline is for you. Then, if think you may be sick, check your temperature. Then take a deep breath and try to hold it 35-50 seconds. Covid-19 patients are lucky to manage 3-5 seconds. Not perfect, but it may keep you from worrying about sniffles or random headaches (and your tele-medicine doctor will ask you about these same things).
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:893


03/29/2020 8:27 AM  
Posted By NathanL1 on 03/28/2020 8:27 PM
This was my post.
I am gathering that the majority puts signs out, but that really is the gist of it.
The members pay for the commons. It is their property. I am being conservative with this, but I still stand and say leave it up to the homeowners judgement!!





Judgment eh!! Well, do you want to lose your home because someone gets sick and sues the association and each owner? That happened here in Las Vegas. A kid got injured on a swingset and when the BOD balked and pushed back, the owner sued, and the jury awarded the victim a settlement were virtually every owner would have to sign their home over to the plaintiff and hope the equity satisfies the judgment..

as a BOD myself, I don't trust someone to make a sound judgment on their own, That is why personal injury attorneys live in a bigger house than you do and HOA D&O insurance premiums are expensive.
AugustinD


Posts:2906


03/29/2020 9:20 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 03/29/2020 8:27 AM
Then take a deep breath and try to hold it 35-50 seconds. Covid-19 patients are lucky to manage 3-5 seconds.
Per the net, I believe the breath holding test is a hoax.

Granted if a person can only hold their breath for only a few seconds, then this sounds like they are at end-stage of some lung disease, including possibly COVID-19.

I too am confounded by allergy symptoms. I am checking my temperature anytime there is a flare-up of same.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/29/2020 10:13 AM  
The symptoms totally vary. They only tell you the Top 3. There are many more than that. You get a fever when your body is fighting the virus. It raises body temp to make it inhabitable in the host. Too high of a temp over a long time is a concern. So spikes in temps are hard to figure out versus a long term constant elevated one. My thermometer is not accurate at all.

Sometimes it hits your gut about 29% of the time it has been reported. Which you do get bouts of diarrhea, stomach pains, and nausea. You may have slight allergy symptoms like a scratchy throat or mild cough. Nothing severe. Shortness of breath is from doing normal things that suddenly make you have to breath more. Extreme lethargy your not getting up as much to notice the shortness of breath.

Interview with a man on a cruise ship put it in perspective. He was isolated with his wife. Both had it. She was coughing. He wasn't. Everything seemed fine but for a fever. They went to let them off the ship. He ended up in a wheelchair by time hit the hospital. He ran out of breath just getting off the ship! That is scary but reality.

So right now in my state our choice is to just stay home and treat yourself at home. They aren't taking you in the hospitals unless your near death basically. Most people can get over it in 2 weeks at home. Which is good news. It just sucks you have to spend the next 2 weeks to a month quarantined without knowing IF you have it or allergies/flu.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7037


03/29/2020 12:02 PM  
Ah, yes, Augustin, the now- infamous "Stanford hospital board" advice hoax.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/29/2020 4:23 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/26/2020 8:20 PM
Ben,

IMO, you are significantly behind the timeline.

I urge you to shut down your clubhouse, pool, facilities, etc.

Sure, some will be upset - vs the obvious danger?

It’s time to lead.




I agree. Take the lead and shut it all down for the time being.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7037


03/29/2020 4:37 PM  
Yes, Yellow tape and sign might be "ugly," in your beautiful area, Nathan. But the alternative is worse. Boards sometime have to make tough decisions--Boards must lead.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3664


03/29/2020 5:46 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 03/29/2020 9:20 AM
Per the net, I believe the breath holding test is a hoax.

It is a hoax. There’s no evidence to suggest this is a valid test for COVID-19. Google for "hoax hold breath" and see for yourself the 1.8 million articles online that say the same thing: It's a hoax.
LanceG1
(Georgia)

Posts:55


03/29/2020 11:12 PM  
I'm not an attorney, but...

If you are in a city/town/county/state where there is a shelter in place order, parks are being closed down to discourage large groups etc. I could see someone making the "standard of care" argument. IE: Given county city, county etc. directives and the fact that most non essential public and private entities are closing down, if the HOA does not make a reasonable effort to comply and take that standard of care it is being negligent. Our management company, on the advise of it's attorneys and other management companies etc. advised us to close down any public areas and are non-essential (we don't have any) but that was my natural inclination as well.

Beyond that, it would be advisable to also look at your insurance policies to make sure that they have not carved out a pandemic exclusion.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/30/2020 4:53 AM  
We are shelter in place but our parks are still open. They just have closed the pavilions and playground equipment. You can still hike and ride bikes. If you stay a safe distance from each other. No longer to hold any gatherings like football, soccer, or baseball in the fields. Can maybe still play tennis if in 2's. However, my bet is that those have been locked just in case.

Former HOA President
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Closing community playgrounds



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