guest blog by Deborah Goonan
Several weeks ago, I told you about a pending legal dispute between Plantation Resort 2 HOA vs. City House, a non-profit organization that assists homeless youths. Several months ago, City House purchased and remodeled a 5-bedroom home in PR2 HOA, for use as transitional living for young adults in need of a home. Shortly after the purchase, PR2 notified City House that it would not be permitted to use the home as intended, citing violation of its Restrictive Covenants.
Earlier this week, WFAA Channel 8 was notified that a confidential, out-of-court settlement has been reached. The video and transcript is linked below.
The dispute centered on PR2 HOA’s restrictions. The attorney for the HOA, Chad Robinson, had argued that the proposed use of the residence City House now owns – as transitional living for up to 8 young women that would otherwise be homeless – does not fall within their definition of “single family use.” Monica Velazquez, attorney for City House, has maintained that “single family use” pertains to how the property is used, not the people who live there. City House planned to use the residence to meet basic housing needs of its residents, all of whom work and attend school, but share expenses for rent, utilities and meals. The dispute was headed for court, where a judge would decide the matter.
But, in typical HOA fashion, a legal settlement has been reached, complete with a sealed file and a gag order. Rob Scichili of City House states that they have decided not to pursue the expense of litigation and to instead move away from PR2 HOA, where they are clearly unwelcome anyway.
Sound familiar? Ah, yes, the old HOA playbook: “We have rules here, and if you don’t like them, MOVE.” The HOA gets its way once again. Of course, with a confidential settlement, the public will never know the details of what was discussed by the parties involved. And that’s just the way the HOA likes it. I certainly hope that City House was at least able to recover its closing costs, remodeling costs, and relocation expenses.
Watching the video report made my blood boil. The arrogance of the two neighbors interviewed, with their not-in-my-back-yard attitude, was nothing short of outrageous, in my opinion.
Do all PR2 residents share these NIMBY views? Probably not, but they will all have to pay for the attorney fees and the legal settlement. They will all have to live with negative publicity for their HOA. Hard to say what effect that might have on their property values.
It seems like we publish at least one blog on NAW each week, featuring yet another story of HOA discrimination, harassment, or bullying. Talk about a huge deterrent for a buyer (or tenant) to living under the HOA regime. Anyone who cares about social justice, fair play, kindness, or compassion will be sorely disappointed under corporate governance by CC&Rs.
(link to WFAA Channel 8 news report on legal settlement)
The previous blogs can be found
and here http://neighborsatwar.com/2014/11/judge-rules-frisco-city-house-can-stay-hoa-civil-case-pending/
What I heard the snotty neighbors say is: We don’t want a safe area for these already disadvantaged women to live in. They need to be re-located to some place where the houses are run down and crime rates are high. We will donate a few dollars per year since it’s a tax deduction for us but keep “those” people out of our sight.
Sadly, these women in transition just learned another sad lesson about life. Those who could give them some guidance and support will only do it from a distance. They will attend the fund-raising galas and wine tasting events in their designer clothing but they aren’t interested in truly changing lives. Anybody can write a check. Investing time and effort is what is needed the most. I’ve seen this with many charities and it truly puts the narrow-minded folks in a spotlight.
I commend the director for making a decision to leave the area and not engage in a long expensive legal battle. He was astute enough to recognize even if they won the legal battle there would be constant harassment to deal with down the road.
What will happen when the economy tanks and these people with the big houses have family members from two or three generations moving in with them? It happens. I had sixteen people living next door to me in attached housing. They were quiet and never caused me any problems, but some of the neighbors were constantly complaining. While the owner paid the same dues as everyone else the water usage alone was probably more than the dues were per month had it been billed by individual unit. Yes, their cars took up all the parking spaces and the kids used the pools every day. They also owned big dogs. Overall, the family did what they had to do to survive hard times and I predict we will see more of those types of living arrangements in the future. Will the HOAs waste all of their dues to fight these situations? Probably so.
Great blog, Deborah. Thank you!
By the way, I posted a comment to this article when it came out elsewhere and I will repeat what I said here.
Did you see what the homeowners of 16 years there said:
“”I’m relieved…I’m relieved too,” said Blair and Lynn Dugger who have lived in the HOA-run neighborhood for 16 years.
They were worried about house values and safety. Living several doors down, they’re happy the fight is over.
“It’s kinda two fold…you want something like that, but you don’t want it right here down the street,” said Lynn.”
What’s the matter, are they afraid to have single women around their husbands? Single women with children! I have seen this one way too often and also, the jealousy of some women (board members, “influential” HOA homeowner wives) with attractive single women (with, or without children), who become owners, or renters. This is unfair and undeserving and these insecure queen bees will do anything to get rid of anyone they consider “competition.”
The unwarranted malicious discrimination by those who have usurped power in these abusive groups and can steal homes, while devastating a family’s finances, sense of safety, security and rightful place in their home and community is criminal, in my opinion. Many times these abusive HOA boards target a homeowner for a lawsuit and fines and fabricated legal fees to foreclose, because the innocent homeowner unknowingly stumbles over some criminality, or wrong doing within the HOA board. This too, is criminal in my opinion and these predators and perpetrators need to be held accountable! There is no need to wonder why these groups and groups like Habitat for Humanity should never, ever place homes in an HOA. The very last thing traumatized people, families, should have to face is being re-traumatized by their new “neighbors.”