One year ago my wife and I moved into what was promoted as, and what seemed to be an active adult community. Sadly, we were to learn that the only activity in this otherwise lovely community is pissing-and-moaning with our elected Home Owners Association (HOA) officials.
Somehow our HOA got off on the wrong foot or was initially aimed in the wrong direction and has never been able to make a course correction. My guess is that the founding members simply saw our HOA as a vehicle for leveraging the builder and enforcing the bylaws.
When you meet the other owners or our elected officials in settings outside of our heated HOA meetings they seem, in most cases, like nice people. How come they turn into Mr. Hyde-like assholes when the gavel strikes the table?
The issues that have everyone astir today are: the lack of a 2007 budget this late in the year, the board’s hiring of a litigation attorney for secret reasons, and new committees being formed to make more rules. But the overriding issue, in my mind, is the lack of any discussion on how to make this a better place to live. There are no proposals to argue over. The proposed budget is the same old stuff, nothing new.
Our ignorance of or lack of interest in improving our community is the real issue; all of the other stuff is just petty bickering. Our board of directors isn’t focused on the only thing they should; making this a more enjoyable and a more valuable place to live. Instead they spend their time arguing about process, rules of order, making more laws, and rigorously enforcing their interpretation of the existing bylaws.
I propose we go back to square one and define a charter or mission statement for our HOA and therefore the job descriptions of the elected management. A suggested charter might read something like:
The charter and only goal of the CCEHA is to mange the expenditure of HOA funds to maximize the quality of our owner’s living experiences and to increase the value of our investments in our homes. Period!
Notice, the charter doesn’t say anything about making or enforcing laws. If we have an offender of the existing rules such as curb-side parking of a RV beyond the allotted time, or the yoyo that paints his house chartreuse, or leaves his Christmas decorations up all year we can deal these on a case-by-case basis with a small infractions committee, not the board. They’ll be focused on positive things.
With the board out of the rules business they will have time to focus on the only thing they should, improving our community. I propose that each discussion topic or agenda item considered by CCEHA management pass this simple test:
Will this proposal or discussion topic improve the quality of the lives of a majority of our owners?
Will this proposal or discussion topic improve the financial investments our owners have made in Country Club Estates?
I fully understand that this is not a homogenous community. We have a range of owners from young, very active retirees up to sedentary elderly folks, and from the physically fit to the terminally ill. And, the amenity that might improve the life of any of these extreme examples won’t do much for those at the other end of the spectrum.
Increasing property values will effect everyone equally, young and old, sick and well.
I also understand that the usual amenities of a fancy clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis courts may not be the wishes of the majority of our owners.
But we should take stock of what we have now. We have a card room and kitchenette with folding chairs, not a clubhouse. A clubhouse would have comfortable chairs, sitting areas, a few card tables, maybe a pool table or two, and possibly shuffleboard on the patio. Our other amenities are an unused bocce court and horseshoe pitch that lie dormant without any semblance of organized leagues, women’s groups, tournaments etc. Why? Let me tell you why. Because our HOA has been too busy arguing about process, trying to make more rules, and wandering the neighborhood trying to catch someone committing rules infractions. I’m going to shoot the next board member that cruises past my house thinking it’s his job to be a patrolling rules enforcer.
We should put our energy into making and selling proposals on how to improve this place. We should be arguing; but arguing the benefits of a jogging trail versus a shuffleboard court or some such thing. I don’t care if we do either, let’s just do something!
Bob Rockwell Country Club Estates
©2007 by Bob Rockwell