How Would You Like To Live Next To THIS Nightmare?

San Clemente is a picturesqe California coastal town. But the big local controversy is a huge condo complex that went bankrupt five years ago. The empty building attracts rats, drug dealers, and has a massive impact on other homes in the Timbers at Towne Center Homeowners Association. Homes worth nearly $300,000 a few years ago now sell for less than $150,000. That is, when they can sell at all. Homeowners say they occasionally get interested buyers. But they’re chased away at the thought of living next to a garbage dump.

The city can’t do anything. Banks won’t lend money.

One adjacent homeowner says the neighbors complain bitterly about the long term eyesore. But they reject any attempt by the city to raise taxes to help pay for the project’s removal.

It’s so typical of Homeowners Associations, which often seem suicidal when it comes to adapting and finding peaceful solutions to local problems. Sometimes it’s hard to feel sorry for them.

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

2 thoughts on “How Would You Like To Live Next To THIS Nightmare?

  1. anonymous

    Uh, what’s your point?

    It sounds like you’re blaming the HOA for something that is happening on somebody else’s property?

    What am I missing?

    1. Ward Lucas

      My point was admittedly weak and you picked up on it. But neighbors in San Clemente have complained for five or six years that the city hasn’t abated the nuisance because it doesn’t have the money. Yet every time the city has tried to raise the necessary money for abatement, the voters have rejected it. Voters, of course, could do fund raisers to try to come up with the money to remove the eyesore. They could look for other solutions, i.e. public investment/public profit. But to sit and gripe when there are more innovative solutions just makes it sound like there’s no leadership.


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