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Subject: Enforcing Traffic Laws in a Texas HOA
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DonnieD3
(Texas)

Posts:4


05/05/2021 9:49 AM  
My HOA has a really bad problem with speeding....someone is going to get badly hurt. As a Board we put in more stop signs in areas where speeding is a problem (e.g. Long & Straight stretches of roadway). The vast majority of Homeowners complied before and still comply after we put in Stop Signs. But, a small minority now both Speed AND Run Stop Signs.

Our CC&Rs were badly outdated and since we are still under developer control, we undertook an effort to rewrite them. Prior to the rewrite there was nothing in the CC&Rs that allowed any "penalties" that we could enforce...it literally went from Do Nothing to Ban All of the Homeowner's Vehicles from using our private roads...nothing in between and we didn't want to use the "nuclear option" every time.

We now have options that escalate from a courtesy letter up to a series of increasing fines that still provide the nuclear option, if needed.

My question is now about enforcement. We are considering 2 options and I'd be curious if anyone has had experience with either option:
1) since we are in the unincorporated county, an Interlocal Agreement for the Constable to provide traffic enforcement on our Private Roads.

2) Rebidding our Security Contract to see if a security contractor is capable of providing traffic enforcement services.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these options? I'd also be open to any other options that work

Thanks in Advance
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2600


05/05/2021 12:04 PM  
You need to slow down a bit (no joke intended).

I'm not clear on this part: if you are still under developer control, why are your CC&Rs outdated? If the developer is still in control, then the board needs to involve him in any decisions that are being made - otherwise he can just vote "no" on whatever you come up with.

Second, re-writing CC&Rs is a job for a lawyer. These things are written in legalese for a reason, and they need to comply with all state and other applicable laws. In general, if your CC&Rs contradict these other laws, the other laws prevail - in addition you're setting up your HOA to lose a bunch of lawsuits when people push back, and it sounds like your speeders are just the folks who will push back. The lawyer can also provide helpful feedback on what kinds of penalties the HOA can lawfully impose for violations. The board can't just do whatever they want, even if it's effective - if the penalties aren't lawful, then expect legal problems.

If you're going to employ "security" of some type, talk to the HOA's insurer first. You need to have the proper insurance since the people may be considered employees. There is also always the possibility of things going sideways, in which case you'll *really* need to be properly insured.
DonnieD3
(Texas)

Posts:4


05/05/2021 12:32 PM  
OK, I guess I should have gone into even more detail...

We're a 20+ year old development where activity stopped for about 10 years. The market here is now red hot and the developer has been building heavily again for about 7 years. The Developer has announced his intention to leave in 2-3 years. During this transition period, we are taking the opportunity to rewrite the CC&Rs...they were created over a period of over 20 years and the complex has multiple sub-developments...condos in some areas, million dollar homes in others. The existing CC&Rs were a patchwork that needed to be rewritten so that it was clearer and the same rules applied to all. We are approaching buildout so, that also changes things a bit.

The Developer's people are deeply involved, our legal team is deeply involved. The escalating penalties have been well thought out and are lenient. Nothing is being rushed as you, somehow, incorrectly concluded.

My question is about enforcement...knowing somebody is speeding and proving it are two different issues. As a Board, we would rather use the Sheriff or other law enforcement entity to cite the offenders and let them deal with the legal system. Has anyone done this in Texas?

If we cannot negotiate an Interlocal Agreement with the County Sheriff, has anyone used a private security company to do traffic enforcement? We're thinking this method would require video and / or radar as proof... We're just looking for experiences / lesson learned....
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4291


05/05/2021 1:46 PM  
Before I moved into my community, it had a huge problem with junk cars, so the association hired off-duty police officers to come through the community periodically and ticket the cars. The owners of the hoopties (half of which didn't live here) usually got rid of the cars, but others got towed. It took a minute, but it seems that the problem's under control.

So, getting private security would be an option, but that can get very expensive. When I was on the Board another approach we discussed was to invite to police to sit in our clubhouse parking lot or other areas around the community to write their reports - and perhaps nab a speeder or yet another junk car. We have a public street running through part of the neighborhood and it runs past the clubhouse, so when people would drive through and see the police car, they'd slow down right away. That may be an option for your community - sometimes the sentinel effect will calm things down.

There's also the possibility of speed bumps, but that's not cheap either and you may have people fuss as to where they should or shouldn't go (I'd start with the streets with the biggest problems) Nevertheless, it may be cheaper in the long run.

As for getting the Sheriff's department to patrol the streets, I think they would have to be city streets, and if you're willing to accept that the city or county will be the ones who will supervise maintenance (and it may take a while to do things like fix potholes), maybe that's a way they would patrol the streets.

Finally, has anyone noticed if the speeders are heading towards specific homes? if so, maybe a chat with the owners may be in order. Perhaps they need to have a chat with their visitors and tell them to slow the hell down before someone gets hurt - and they get a ticket.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


05/05/2021 2:40 PM  
You really need to find out putting up stop and other street signs are legal. It may not be. You can't just put up street signs because want them. They have to be enforceable. Which also means making sure any other changes are legally enforceabe. This may include working with the city and making ordinances.

Plus need to agree upon how to measure speed. Radar guns and who shoots them may need training. Plus law enforcement most likely need to be the ones to discuss all of the enforcement aspects.

Former HOA President
DonnieD3
(Texas)

Posts:4


05/05/2021 3:27 PM  
Our streets are Private (The HOA does all maintenance). We are a gated community with a minimal security team...they do check in and check out only.

Since our streets are private, we can put up Stop Signs. But, YES, we did follow Texas State Law on where we placed them....as an example, we had a 4 way intersection with only 2 Stop Signs....we added the other 2 to make it a 4 way stop...

In Texas, LEO isn't allowed to do traffic control / patrol without some form of agreement...in other words the Sheriff (we are in the unincorporated part of the County) will charge the HOA to do the "service". I am looking for any Texas HOA that has done this...

OR, I'd like to hear from a Texas HOA that used a private security company to do the traffic patrols, just to see if that is a viable option....
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


05/05/2021 3:34 PM  
Donnie,
I am now living in Texas but my experience on this issue comes from my last California HOA that had private streets. We also installed additional Stop signs installed and had no issues from the City or County. We also had a bad problem with people running the Stops. One of the options we looked at but did not implement was Speed bumps at the Stop signs. If you stop correctly this is a minor inconvenience if you run the stop it can be damaging. We also had Private security on site for 16 hours a day but never planned to have them enforce speeding violations. I would not recommend as others have stated for the same reasons.

My question for you is if the Declarant/Developer is still in control they get the majority of the votes on Rule changes. What do they say about this problem?
DonnieD3
(Texas)

Posts:4


05/05/2021 3:51 PM  
The Developer / Declarant is aware of the issue and the Elected Board Members have made it painfully aware to him that we have had several close calls already.

"What would the publicity of a kid getting run over and killed do to new home sales". That isn't an idol threat and he is willing to help...But, Speed Bumps are a firm NO from him...That will be reconsidered when he is out.

So, as long as we don't affect his New Home Sales, he is pretty supportive.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


05/05/2021 4:10 PM  
Donnie,
When we polled our community they were a firm no on speed bumps in the middle of the streets but were in favor of them at the Stop signs since they are already stopped. We did have a few Senior Citizens that were concerned about EMT vehicles being slowed down in the event of emergencies.
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