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Subject: Playground with wooden fence
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Author Messages
LorettaB1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5


12/07/2019 5:15 PM  
A playground was recently added to the green space/common area right beside our home. My husband and I are 55+ years of age and can clearly hear the children playing on the equipment. We have retried balls that has been thrown over our fence, had people using our yard as a short cut to the area, etc. I emailed our HOA board and they placed a fence between our home and the play area. The problem is that the wooden fence runs along our front yard! No other home in the neighborhood has a fence in the front yard. This makes our home look awkward and blocks our view when we are sitting on the front porch. I have emailed them about this issue and they responded and said that they solved the issues that we were having prior to the fence being built. Because this is a wooden fence, it will become even less attractive. Is there anything that can be done to have them shorten the fence so that it is not in/beside our front yard? Should the playground have been placed this close to a home? Thank you for shedding some light onto this situation.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9025


12/07/2019 6:14 PM  
So at what point did you attend a meeting of your HOA when they were discussing the playground or even how to resolve your issue? For me this sounds like you left the solution up to the HOA to decide what to do. They decided a fence would be the answer and "Poof" there's a fence.

May I suggest that you got more involved instead of requesting others? Your not going to get the results you want unless you suggest the solution...

Former HOA President
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:875


12/07/2019 6:35 PM  
I am going to meet Melissa halfway on this. Personally I feel the BOD should have reached out to the homeowners individually where this play area was erected, That is my first area where I think the board failed. You have a quality of life issue i feel with the the newly constructed plates that brought unwanted consequences to you and your spouse. I feel you board is playing with fire for not lowering the front most part of the fence. I see it as a safety hazard. If you back out of your driveway and get hit, the fence is an obstruction. I don't know what you can do to have the play set moved to another location, but the fence, I would start with your local government like city or county building inspector and let them see the fence.
LorettaB1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5


12/07/2019 6:39 PM  
@MelisssaP...I have attended ALL meetings! When the topic of the play area was discussed, we were told that the exact location would revealed to us once they received feedback from a possible installer of the play area. We NEVER received any feedback! I arrived home from work one afternoon, and POOF, it was being installed! What I expected was a conversation to first discuss the possible locations for the play area (which is what we were told) and a conversation to discuss the possible solutions to the problems...NOT this is the solution, like it or not. Thanks for your input, but please STOP assuming! Ask me for more information if you really want to make some suggestions.
LorettaB1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5


12/07/2019 6:41 PM  
Thank you LetA. I have started the ball rolling.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:556


12/07/2019 7:09 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 12/07/2019 6:14 PM
So at what point did you attend a meeting of your HOA when they were discussing the playground or even how to resolve your issue? For me this sounds like you left the solution up to the HOA to decide what to do. They decided a fence would be the answer and "Poof" there's a fence.

May I suggest that you got more involved instead of requesting others? Your not going to get the results you want unless you suggest the solution...



Typical Melissa, assume first.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2095


12/07/2019 7:12 PM  
Yep ... a case of Ready, Fire, Aim.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9025


12/07/2019 9:29 PM  
Right so by others... Not enough details but your going to city hall...

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:761


12/08/2019 6:16 AM  
I agree with LetA that the board messed up multiple times. All owners should have had input, and the appropriate professionals should have had input on the location of the play area as well as any modifications needed to address safety and other issues. (Don't members have to vote to approve any additions like this? Playgrounds and equipment can be reserve items as well as things needing ongoing maintenance, and they also affect the HOA's insurance requirements. So it's possible this addition wasn't even legal.)

If I were in the OP's situation, I'd do the following:

-- Consult with a knowledgeable attorney to see what my options are. HOA law and real estate law can overlap, but they are separate areas. The attorney should be aware of both.

-- Once I knew where I stood, I'd ask myself some hard questions. What changes will make this situation acceptable to me, what will it cost me to achieve these, and what are the odds of them happening? The answers will tell me whether to fight or bail.

I don't like to suggest that owners sue their associations right off the bat, but the OP has good reason to feel upset. The quality of her life has been affected without any input from her, and the value of her home has been affected. (Many buyers refuse to consider a home that is adjacent to play areas. Even if they buy pre-construction, the developer will have a plat of the proposed community plan so that buyers can avoid such areas. Failure to disclose this info can be a reason for the prospective buyer to walk away.)


MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9025


12/08/2019 6:25 AM  
So we are already going to go to a lawyer and city hall now to resolve an INTERNAL issue in the HOA??? Why not take some pictures and a solution to the HOA board? The playground is probably NOT going to be moved at this point. The fence was a way to deter the noise and maybe provide some safety. Why not suggest another type of fence or ask for some trees to be planted?

These are your NEIGHORS after all. Why not take the issue to your neighbors???

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:761


12/08/2019 7:02 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 12/08/2019 6:25 AM
So we are already going to go to a lawyer and city hall now to resolve an INTERNAL issue in the HOA??? Why not take some pictures and a solution to the HOA board? The playground is probably NOT going to be moved at this point. The fence was a way to deter the noise and maybe provide some safety. Why not suggest another type of fence or ask for some trees to be planted?

These are your NEIGHORS after all. Why not take the issue to your neighbors???




Because the neighbors have had no input so far.

Because those who are not affected by the playground are likely to be in favor of it or at best indifferent to the OP's issues.

Because there is a question about whether creation of a playground (capital improvement) without owner vote was even legal, which is a question for a lawyer.

As I said, I generally don't like to jump immediately to a lawsuit, but there are times when it's appropriate to at least get informed input from an attorney. This is one of them.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2095


12/08/2019 7:02 AM  
I agree with Melissa ... the road is long before one needs an attorney in this case.

Note the issues, offer some solutions ... and, always have all the information re everything that has occurred on a chronological timeline.

Do not get overly emotional, do not act like a nutcase ... be respectfully and thoughtful.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:556


12/08/2019 9:26 AM  
What George is trying to say, is be what the Board wasn't.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2095


12/08/2019 9:33 AM  
Mark,

You don’t know what the Board was ... or, wasn’t.

We have input from the OP, but you know this is not always accurate, nor always inclusive.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:556


12/08/2019 9:44 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/08/2019 9:33 AM
Mark,

You don’t know what the Board was ... or, wasn’t.

We have input from the OP, but you know this is not always accurate, nor always inclusive.



I am sure we can pass that information onto the OP.

Thanks
LorettaB1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5


12/08/2019 2:39 PM  
MelissaP1...take the issues to my neighbors??? This would not even have been an issue if the board had followed protocol. I am trying hard to follow the chain of command, but not getting much in return. I DON"T want to involve an attorney, but sometimes it is necessary. I refuse to sit back and let my rights be ignored and the concerns that I have not be taken seriously.

Thanks to everyone that has offered some useful advice. I will let you know how this "plays" out.
LorettaB1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5


12/08/2019 2:50 PM  
Posted By MarkW18 on 12/08/2019 9:44 AM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/08/2019 9:33 AM
Mark,

You don’t know what the Board was ... or, wasn’t.

We have input from the OP, but you know this is not always accurate, nor always inclusive.



I am sure we can pass that information onto the OP.

Thanks




The information that I have posted is very accurate! There is absolutely NO proof (because it never happened) that the board contacted the owners that would be most affected by their decision to place the play area where it is. I was told that this area was chosen because it is in a central location. This is a huge subdivision and the play area is in the front area! How is this convenient for the owners that live in the rear? This is the only play area in the neighborhood so I know that it is NOT in a central location!
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:209


12/08/2019 2:50 PM  
I totally agree with you Cathy. If you can afford it why not pay a lawyer for consult and inform yourself before approaching the Board. Doing a consult doesn't mean you are going to sue and it may actually help prevent one. If it doesn't so be it.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9025


12/08/2019 3:47 PM  
So is your HOA Developer controlled or Owner owned? The HOA Board IS your neighbors. HOA's are funny that way... Being made up of all your neighbors and such...

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:761


12/09/2019 5:47 AM  
Going to your neighbors is not a panacea nor the solution to all problems. As we've all seen from many of the questions posted here, the typical homeowner is uninformed and apathetic about HOA matters and is the last place you'd go for effective, impartial assistance. And sadly, board members can be equally clueless and unhelpful, as appears to be the case here.

The only times it can be useful to get the neighbors on board is when there is a community-wide issue that has the potential to negatively affect a large number of owners. This is exactly *not* what is happening here. The OP and other owners immediately surrounding the new playground are the only ones who are negatively impacted - she said the her community is large, so this playground is going to be a non-issue for a large number of owners, and certainly no reason for busy or apathetic owners to get involved in a solution that doesn't benefit them personally.

The OP is in a tough spot. Her home has lost value, as it's now sitting on what we would refer to as an "impaired lot" (one that would be sold at a discount because something in the immediate vicinity makes it less desirable). Her "quiet enjoyment" of her home has also been diminished. And she has had no say in the matter - she has not been compensated financially in order to make the location more attractive to her, and filing a complaint about noise won't get her anywhere in this situation. In her spot I would be furious. And since any steps I would make would probably be expensive and time-consuming, my first move would be to consult a knowledgeable attorney to find out exactly where I stand.

You can't make wise moves without good information, which the neighbors are *not* a source of.
AugustinD


Posts:2657


12/09/2019 6:13 AM  
Posted By LorettaB1 on 12/08/2019 2:50 PM
This is the only play area in the neighborhood [...]


Posted By CathyA3 on 12/08/2019 6:16 AM
Don't members have to vote to approve any additions like this? Playgrounds and equipment can be reserve items as well as things needing ongoing maintenance, and they also affect the HOA's insurance requirements. So it's possible this addition wasn't even legal.


I think Cathy may have nailed it. But some questions need to be answered so as to give the best advice possible. First, Loretta Is the board still under developer control? Second, does the HOA's Declaration of Covenants say anything about having a playground? If the board is no longer under developer control, then the Board's installation of this playground, without a formal vote of the membership to amend the Declaration, adding a capital asset, was almost assuredly unlawful. Loretta, if you answer the above questions, I may be able to suggest a brief 'demand letter lite' that you can send to the board. Then yes, see a real estate attorney or a HOA attorney.
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