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Subject: Demolished Entry landscape -unhappy association
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JeanO
(Georgia)

Posts:3


09/30/2021 12:07 PM  
Our Subdivision was turned over to HOA about a year ago. We had a great community. Covid hit, and affected everything negatively. Board composition/committees changed drastically. Developer turned over about 50k in “play nice money” (Loan we didn’t have to repay, pretty much in exchange for their leaving property “as is”. We had a reserve study done pro Bono by former HOA President and are in great financial shape. Posted online. Developer left us with an entry landscape that was not irrigated by them and when we took possession it was the source of many members complaints. The 50k could easily have been spent replacing the landscape. (Informed estimate). The Board elected in 1/2021 immediately got to work on this. Unfortunately the association was not consulted on this, no community meeting, just a couple of lines in meeting minutes that the board had composed a three year plan for the renovation. No additional details shared publicly. Blame it on Covid restrictions/isolation, I guess. The person who determined that the removed trees (about 16 trees -conservatively valued at upwards of 17k) was not a certified arborist and was connected to the decision makers personally. At that point I think a full HOA meeting/vote on the budget for this should have been called because the scope of the project became major. Didn’t happen. Leadership moved forward with design selection, bidding, and when demo day came and massive amounts (visually shocking!) of trees were removed the reaction was powerfully negative. There’s more to it but suffice it to say with vendor/labor shortages, Covid effect on community/communication and a general sense of impoverishment our once amazing community is suffering and we are trying to build back. I’m on the newly forming committee to try to clean up the situation as best we can. I think the simple answer is to tap into the 50 k and we should vote on it at a meeting - zoom ought to work- we’ve done it before. And if the vote is no - let it go and move on. People are so angry at this board and are suspicious of them now. They’re not perfect but overall decent people who want to make this right. I’m willing to help them even though it scares me. I am a landscape professional and advised them last year to water the landscape for one year and then decide how to move forward. Needless to say that didn’t happen. I asked yesterday why they didn’t call me in when they were making these decisions and was told “personalities”. Too bad, but water under the bridge now. The chair of this new subcommittee was/is on the board elected 1/2021 (treasurer, also head of landscape committee- we have lost most of our volunteers). He needs and wants to ask the rest of the board (2) for money. He’s not super hopeful. Any bit of wisdom from y’all on any portion of this mess will be most appreciated.
(This is my first posting- have been around the forum a year
Single family detached HOA between 50-100 homes in southeast exurb of major city
Majority retirees
Pool/lawn care/common areas
Less than 5 years old
Professional management co)
Healthy reserve fund
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:283


09/30/2021 12:18 PM  
Posted By JeanO on 09/30/2021 12:07 PM
Our Subdivision was turned over to HOA about a year ago. We had a great community. Covid hit, and affected everything negatively. Board composition/committees changed drastically.

Developer turned over about 50k in “play nice money” (Loan we didn’t have to repay, pretty much in exchange for their leaving property “as is”. We had a reserve study done pro Bono by former HOA President and are in great financial shape. Posted online.

Developer left us with an entry landscape that was not irrigated by them and when we took possession it was the source of many members complaints. The 50k could easily have been spent replacing the landscape. (Informed estimate).

The Board elected in 1/2021 immediately got to work on this. Unfortunately the association was not consulted on this, no community meeting, just a couple of lines in meeting minutes that the board had composed a three year plan for the renovation. No additional details shared publicly.

Blame it on Covid restrictions/isolation, I guess. The person who determined that the removed trees (about 16 trees -conservatively valued at upwards of 17k) was not a certified arborist and was connected to the decision makers personally. At that point I think a full HOA meeting/vote on the budget for this should have been called because the scope of the project became major. Didn’t happen.

Leadership moved forward with design selection, bidding, and when demo day came and massive amounts (visually shocking!) of trees were removed the reaction was powerfully negative. There’s more to it but suffice it to say with vendor/labor shortages, Covid effect on community/communication and a general sense of impoverishment our once amazing community is suffering and we are trying to build back.

I’m on the newly forming committee to try to clean up the situation as best we can. I think the simple answer is to tap into the 50 k and we should vote on it at a meeting - zoom ought to work- we’ve done it before. And if the vote is no - let it go and move on. People are so angry at this board and are suspicious of them now. They’re not perfect but overall decent people who want to make this right.

I’m willing to help them even though it scares me. I am a landscape professional and advised them last year to water the landscape for one year and then decide how to move forward. Needless to say that didn’t happen. I asked yesterday why they didn’t call me in when they were making these decisions and was told “personalities”. Too bad, but water under the bridge now.

The chair of this new subcommittee was/is on the board elected 1/2021 (treasurer, also head of landscape committee- we have lost most of our volunteers). He needs and wants to ask the rest of the board (2) for money. He’s not super hopeful.

Any bit of wisdom from y’all on any portion of this mess will be most appreciated.

(This is my first posting- have been around the forum a year

Single family detached HOA between 50-100 homes in southeast exurb of major city
Majority retirees
Pool/lawn care/common areas
Less than 5 years old
Professional management co)
Healthy reserve fund




Just added some line breaks to OP.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
JeanO
(Georgia)

Posts:3


09/30/2021 12:29 PM  
Thanks for the line breaks, Pat. My husband was the first President of HOA and did the Reserve Study. We’ve lived the whole answering e mails at 10 pm on Sunday nights, spending more time on HOA matters than your actual job….the message is about moving forward. I know it’s a long message- I’d like people to read it before thinking it’s about board bashing. I’m really hoping for some help here.
AugustinD


Posts:1853


09/30/2021 1:17 PM  
Thank you, PatJ1.

JeanO, I read what you wrote. Trees were cut down. People are not happy. Can you summarize what you want answered in a few questions? Or maybe offer options that you want to explore, and then solicit this forum's input?

One comment for now: I think the Owners there may need to understand that, as a matter or law, the bulk of decisions pertaining to HOA operations are to be made solely by the Board. The Board is not required to solicit input, apart from possibly an open forum requirement during each board meeting, possibly pursuant to state law. If owners do not like what a board is doing, the owners' recourse is to elect a new board.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2569


09/30/2021 1:31 PM  
I agree with Augustin. The "play nice" money is money that the Developer would have spent finishing off the community - it would *not* have gone into homeowners' pockets, and if things had played out normally, they would have had no say in how this money was spent.

What I'm seeing is a new community fresh out of Developer transition, with an inexperienced board making rookie mistakes and many (probably most) homeowners totally clueless about how these communities operate. Hint: they're not democracies, they're corporations and are run by the board of directors. There are a few limited areas in which homeowners have a say: electing directors, approving capital improvements (this landscaping isn't one since it had been included in the Developer's plans), approving amendments to the CC&Rs, and (in some states and some communities) approving the annual budget. That's it.

It's good practice for a board to poll the community if they're planning to make a change in what has been business as usual, but again, that's not what this is.

Board members and homeowners alike could benefit from educating themselves about what they've bought into. The Education tab in the website below will bring up helpful info:

https://www.caionline.org/pages/default.aspx
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11637


09/30/2021 2:06 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/30/2021 1:31 PM
I agree with Augustin. The "play nice" money is money that the Developer would have spent finishing off the community - it would *not* have gone into homeowners' pockets, and if things had played out normally, they would have had no say in how this money was spent.

What I'm seeing is a new community fresh out of Developer transition, with an inexperienced board making rookie mistakes and many (probably most) homeowners totally clueless about how these communities operate. Hint: they're not democracies, they're corporations and are run by the board of directors. There are a few limited areas in which homeowners have a say: electing directors, approving capital improvements (this landscaping isn't one since it had been included in the Developer's plans), approving amendments to the CC&Rs, and (in some states and some communities) approving the annual budget. That's it.

It's good practice for a board to poll the community if they're planning to make a change in what has been business as usual, but again, that's not what this is.

Board members and homeowners alike could benefit from educating themselves about what they've bought into. The Education tab in the website below will bring up helpful info:

https://www.caionline.org/pages/default.aspx



Well said. Inexperience all the way around. Critical owners are made to understand not a democracy as a matter of fact, far from it.
JeanO
(Georgia)

Posts:3


09/30/2021 2:19 PM  
That is helpful and is what happened. Rookie board is trying to do great things. They are asking for input from the community now. I’m on the committee. A project like this needed to be done completely, not in phases. It’s like ripping off the front door of your home and replacing it 1/3 at a time. It didn’t work. After we get the community input, comes the budget ask. We really need to spend it all now and finish the project. The board is nervous about making people even more mad if they spend the money. It’s like they can’t get out from under this. Thanks for the educational link. This is all very helpful already and many thanks!
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Demolished Entry landscape -unhappy association



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