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Subject: Gazebos in common area
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08/18/2006 9:11 PM  
This may take a long explanation but I'll try to keep it short. Bottom line, we are trying to determine if we can remove gazebos that were placed in our community in the common area.

There are two gazebos in a court circle common area. The gazebos have become a meeting place for teenagers who leave behind lots of trash. The arrive all hours of the night. Residents have phone for police but the teenagers just return after police leave. This occurs at 4am and other times as well.

Our concerns are escalating because it's not just the kids who live in the neighborhood anymore. Their "friends" are now congreating at the gazebos at all hours of the day and night.

At a community meeting a neigbhorhood brought up the problem to our board (I'm on the board and live across from one of the gazebos). The board president instructed me to get a petition signed by the neighbors on this particular court and we would remove them if we received a majority of signatures. I distributed a flier to each of my neighbors telling them that some residents of our court are complaining about the activity at the gazebo so someone would be by to get their signature on a petition for removal.

I got more than 50% and intended to continue knocking on doors when one neighbor said she liked the gazebo and doesn't want it removed. So, I stopped getting signatures.

When I reported to the board, the president asked me to go back with a new petition that gave residents a "yes" and "no" column to choose from. What I had done was list each address and ask them to sign next to it. I'm a little surprised by the president's instruction to go out and start over. My instincts tell me to keep knocking on doors and see what happens since only one person of the 13 or so I visited is opposed.

We have 134 homes in a SF HOA. Not sure if you need any further info to help me with my next step. I do apologize for the lengthy note.


08/19/2006 8:10 AM  
Pam, if the HOA ownes the gazebos and the Board has the authority (which is usually is provided in By-laws), then the Board may remove the gazebos. It does not take a vote of the homeowners and with 134 homes I would not be going door to door. However, I would suggest to the Board that a letter, under the President's signature, be mailed to each homeowner stating that the Board has decided to remove the two gazebos owned by the assocition which are located in the common area. The reasons for this decission are ____________. If you disagree with this action please submit a letter to the Board within 7 days. If objection letters are received from more than 10% of the owners, this item will be placed on the agenda for the next Board meeting so you may attend and be heard. Otherwise the 2 gazebos will be removed.


08/19/2006 2:23 PM  

you always have such great advice! It is the boards decision, but with something like that it is good to tell why you want to remove them, maybe a resident out there has a better idea that can help you keep them.



08/19/2006 5:09 PM  
Pam, you are in a real “pickle”. It’s a really sticky situation to be confronted with. I would have to agree with Roger though. No one wants to do away with the gazebos, by any means. The board has to make a decision that will better the entire community. Not everyone is going to be happy. I believe it will benefit more of the community (from what you have said) if the gazebos just weren’t there at all.
I know many won’t agree with this. Maybe you can take a suggestion as to what should or can be done. Explain to every homeowner what has been taking place on a nightly basis. I would then explain to each homeowner what actions have been taken thus far. Then ask for suggestions. You could present those to the board. I think at this point, members of the community would be more understanding of them both being removed.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
It sounds like you have gotten some good advice already.

Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.


08/19/2006 6:39 PM  
If the gazebos are gone, do you really think the activity will stop? It may not....then you have removed the gazebos and still have the problem.

Maybe you could post hours of use in the common area and use this as leverage to remove the unwanted trespassers. I would work more closely with law enforcement to get this resolved. Is there a way to have lights installed? This may help in deterring the teens from hanging out.


08/19/2006 10:16 PM  
Good idea! I hadn’t thought of lights. That probably would deter a majority of the teen activity. Then you get the best of both worlds.

Keep us posted.
Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.


08/20/2006 6:06 AM  

I agree with JulieS, there's nothing to prove the loitering will stop once the gazebos are gone. Who are these teenagers, kids of residents? Perhaps a letter describing the activity, and hours of use would shine some light on the situation in addition to increased lighting!!

I don't think the solution is to remove an amenity of the common elements. However, 50% of your community does, and one "no" should not outway all the others.

Best of luck!!


08/20/2006 11:06 AM  
I completely with RogerB. The BOD can make the independent decision on their own to remove the gazebos from common areas. No explanations needed to the community. The BOD functions with the purpose of acting on behalf of the good of the HOA. Our BOD of which I am a member has complete control of the common areas.
Stick with any advise you see coming from RogerB, as I have taken some of his comments to our BOD meetings just to show our members how other associations work. We are currently having a small battle within the board on some advice he gave to a posting and I am ready to pay out of pocket to a real estate attorney to prove our own attorney is incorrect on an issue.


08/20/2006 4:37 PM  
As Roger said, the BOD can make the decision regarding the gazebos. And if half the community is willing to have them removed then that makes the BOD decision easier.

However, the question remains, will that stop the teenagers from gathering there? Will they just come and sit on the grass and do what they're doing -- leaving trash etc?

Are they only leaving trash, and not causing any other problems?

Can they be reasoned with and told that it's ok to gather there as long as they respect a few rules regarding noise and trash?

Placing lights there, as someone suggested, may help limit the activity.

Personally, I would not take away a community eminity until I exhausted every other avenue.

If they come back after the police leave, then call the police again. Have the police get names and ages. (Curfew violations>)Get the police reports and send violation letters (nuisance type violation letters) to the parents.

Prosecute the ones who don't live there and who aren't guests of a teenager in attendance, for trespassing.

If they are hassled enough like this they may find it better to find a different place to hang out.


08/20/2006 7:10 PM  

After reading all the other posts I am in agreement with some that I don't think removing the gazebos will help. If it is financially feasible increase the lighting levels. Work with your local police department and demand that when they are called out they enforce curfew and get names of people. Teens will continue to congregate there until they are hassled enough that they look for an alternative place.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Gazebos in common area

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