HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Baitball Blogger » Journal
Page: 1

Baitball Blogger

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Seminole County, Florida
Member since: Sun Mar 18, 2012, 10:16 PM
Number of posts: 35,657

Journal Archives

There aren't just two Americas. There are Three.

What I Learned Living in a Homeowner's Association in Central Florida

By Baitball Blogger

Sometimes things fall in place to give you a way to see something that before, was once too complicated to explain. That is what happened this week when I received a letter from our Homeownerís Association to announce an annual meeting for the purpose of electing officers, as well as other business.

This will be the first election they have held in two years. They must have come to realize that as a Florida Corporation they were obligated to follow the rules of the State. Since they didnít hold a meeting last year for this purpose, technically, they have been running the organization with an illegally constituted board.
Unfortunately for them, there is ample evidence that they have been holding illegal meetings. Itís a small community of 28 homes so it isnít difficult to follow the traffic patterns or see the evidence that the board members are converging at the presidentís home.

Sometimes I think there is divine intervention involved the way these things fall in my lap. For example, my dog died on September 22nd and, because I wanted to hold onto the last memory I had of her, I digitally recorded the entire day from my security camera. I wanted to see how I could have missed the signs. But you know what I found instead? While she was getting hit with one convulsion after the other, outside on the street, the board members were on their way for an evening gathering. And while they were on their way to the meeting, another neighbor (who has in the past shown very little respect for boundaries when she walked her dogs), unnecessarily trespassed into my yard. Whether she was there to scout and see if I had noticed the rendezvous, or had come to try to warn me of what was about to happen, I guess Iíll never know.

There is no doubt that this board illegally converged to make monetary decisions because they clearly announced such a decision in their letter. The letter stated that tree maintenance would be performed for the common areas in front of the town-homes that are part of our mixed home community.

Hereís the sticking point. There are no common grounds infront of the town-homes. We have easement rights and common ground on the side of these homes that give us egress to a considerable patch of common grounds behind the town-homes. But nothing infront, as stated in their notice.


In fact, twenty years ago, when we first moved in, these town-homes, which consist of two duplexes and a quadruplex, were required to pay an exorbitant annual fee compared to the fee that was paid by those of us who lived in single family homes. I believe they paid something like $660.00 a year, compared to our $183.

Those of you who live in multi-family homes or condominiums might understand the reason for this better than I do. I believe that the way our documents were originally written, the Association was expected to take this money from these owners to contract workers to maintain their front yards, which also included atriums; as well as a small swatch of land that the town-house owners own behind their houses, which butt up against our common grounds. They also have party-walls that the Association may have had to collect money for.

But this is where I first witnessed the appearance of the Third America. I saw the transformation occur as strong-willed owners, who were very well connected into the city politics, lobbied to take control of their own maintenance. It may have made sense, at first. But then, our Association went into a state of chaos as they also tried to adversely possess the common areas behind their homes!

This was only one of many efforts. Their resolve was tireless, which only raised the acrimony and distrust in this community.

The common grounds have always been treated like a resource that was up for the taking. But, we see the same pattern over and over again across this country. Itís a sense of entitlement that drives them.

Unfortunately, these kind of resources always get dangled like a carrot to induce more people into this Third America, so it becomes impossible for a person of conscience to stop them by appealing to their sense of fairness and legal requirements.

In fact, when I was raising my small children in this community, I was very much aware that the children they played with on this street were getting an education into a way of life that was very foreign than the one that I was exposed to as a child; or the one I was teaching my children. It became clear to me that the children who grow up in households that see how the social networks can subvert the legal process, are children who will never grow up respecting government. They will always know that there is a way around the process and you can get away with subverting peopleís rights, as long as you form strong, political alliances.

So now, I am not only pondering the fact that, if Iím right, the Association will misappropriate the funds, but Iím also shaking my head because they are also announcing a Mulch-fest, asking for volunteers to spread mulch on the common grounds that they do recognize as part of the Association. I mean really? Are they really paying for maintenance of private property at the same time that they are asking us to volunteer our services?

Yes, I will write a letter to the Association, just to be sure, but this has to be the busiest week I have had all year and where they have had two years to work out agreements and understandings, I have just days to send something off in the mail before I hear the sound of chain-saws and tree grinders. I donít think Iíll make it in time.

One of the things that I would have told them if this community had followed protocol, was that our Association documents include a list of legal definitions. If you look up the term ďcommon groundsĒ it will describe them and I believe you will see ďlandscape easementĒ included. You can always check with a real estate lawyer to see if I am right.
Posted by Baitball Blogger | Thu Jun 23, 2016, 12:59 AM (16 replies)
Go to Page: 1