Tag Archives: solar panels

Seething Over Solar Seems Senseless In Kehrs Mill Estates

guest blog by Nila Ridings
Most of our readers can relate to being an activist working towards changes in America’s HOAs. We understand being passionate about sharing our knowledge of the abuses and corruption. We can relate to Frances and Jim Babb in many ways. For one, they live in an HOA. And they are strong supporters of solar energy. They believe it is right for America for many reasons. And it’s the most efficient way for them to provide energy to their upscale Victorian mansion in Clarkson Valley; a posh Saint Louis suburb.The Saint Louis Dispatch stated, “The Babbs’ ordeal has turned Frances Babb into a advocate. She’s lobbied state legislators over the past year for the Senate Bill 579, which bars homeowners associations from prohibiting solar energy.” The bill passed. End of the story…or is it? No, it isn’t.

The Babbs requested approval for the installation of the solar panels from their HOA board at Kehrs Mill Estates. There was no response within the time allowed by their CC&Rs. Next they applied for a permit from the City of Clarkson Valley where they ran into a snag that ultimately had to be resolved with litigation and a great deal of nonsense. The Babbs prevailed. The City of Clarkson Valley appealed the court’s decision but were again ordered to issue the permit. The Babbs installed the solar panels and looked forward to living in peace while setting a trend towards using cleaner energy and doing their part to make America less dependent on Arab oil.

Suddenly, guess who has an issue with their solar panels? I know you guessed it right, THE KEHRS MILL ESTATES HOA! Some neighbors claim the solar panels might cause car accidents or bring rabies into the exclusive community. So, now do they want them removed? The Babbs’ house sits a football field length away from the road surrounded by trees so it’s barely visible to passersby.

Will there be another legal battle or will the Kehrs Mill Estates BOD realize how senseless it would be to file suit when the State of Missouri has passed a law that allows solar panels, the City of Clarkson Valley has lost court battles twice, and they didn’t follow their own CC&Rs? We know how this historically goes….after $100,000 or more is spent in legal bills somebody gets tired or goes broke in the fight.

I’ve spoken with Frances Babb and I am 99.9% sure she isn’t going to take her solar panels off of her roof! I’m cheering her on and I hope you will, too. HOAs expect their members to jump at every command and demand but when they don’t follow their own CC&Rs it can sure come back and bite them. Perhaps this will be a lesson learned?

Oh! And a word of caution to our pilot readers. Please do not mistake the Babbs’ solar panels as the runway lights for Lambert Field. Landing your Boeing 757 on one of the HOA private streets is strictly prohibited!

The three attached links are well worth reading!)

(St Louis Post-Dispatch story on the solar fight)

(followup story on solar fight)

(story in Clean Technica)

A Smackdown in Texas

Increasing numbers of homeowners associations across the country have learned there’s profit in being confrontational. Lots of profit.  HOA attorneys advise their clients to attack every violation of the covenants with a vengeance. Insignificant fines often turn into tens of thousands of dollars in fees, fines, collection costs and attorneys’ expenses. Some of those confrontations defy common sense.

Ted Faraz of Irving, Texas, found that out the hard way. He installed some solar panels on his roof. His intent wasn’t malicious. He wasn’t doing it to intentionally anger his HOA. He actually invested $15,000 in an effort to be more environmentally responsible.

His solar panels couldn’t be seen from the street. In fact, only one neighbor could see them and that neighbor said they didn’t bother him at all.

But the Ranch Valley HOA felt differently. They began fining Faraz $50 for each day the solar panels remained. It got worse. The HOA filed a lien and began to foreclose on Faraz’s house.

Faraz felt it was a blatant case of extortion. There was no real point for the HOA to prove. It was always about publicly slamming down a homeowner who strayed outside the rules.

The Homeowners Association has proven one thing, though: that young starry-eyed prospective homeowners would be wise to avoid the Ranch Valley HOA.

Avoid it like the plague.

With homeowners associations across the country taking a nose-dive in real estate values specifically because of this kind of community fascism, homeowners would be well-advised to look elsewhere for a new place to live.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association