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Standards not enforced

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by Zansu, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Zansu

    Zansu New Member

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    What's with the homeowners covenant standards? Are they enforced or not? If not, why do I follow them? When I moved in, you couldn't build a deck out past the side of the house. They've changed that now to allow it to go out 4 feet. That can look pretty awful. I lived in an HOA before where a couple of loud residents got so many exceptions that the board couldn't enforce anything because the court decided they had made so many exceptions they weren't consistently applying the covenants, so they didn't hold water. Is that where we're going? I hope not.
    Now someone down the street has a vinyl fence. Not allowed in the covenants, but there it is. Why don't we take it down and fine them like we're supposed to? I'm trusting the board to live up to their word as defined in the covenants. Will they?
    This also goes for all the basketball backboards and visible trashcans.
  2. vacliff

    vacliff "You shouldn't say that."

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    Zansu-
    If you are aware of violations in the community and would like to report them, contact Arlene Filion at the HOA office at 703-729-9714.
    If we are unaware of the violation, action cannot be taken. Legal action has been taken in the past to get violations corrected.

    It is also true, as you pointed out, that changes can be made to the guidelines. Fences, for example, have had many changes. When I moved in even picket fences were not allowed.
  3. bike4fun

    bike4fun Member

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    I also wondered about the standards.

    I recently moved into my new VM Townhome. In the middle of November I received a mailing with updates to the deck restrictions that are specific to my section (the VM townhomes). The changes were made to try to maintain a standard look across all decks in that section. They not only address the looks, but also size limitations.

    The HOA did a good job in getting these changes out in a timely manner (according to the papers, the changes were approved in September).

    As such I was suprised when one of my neighbors built a deck that exceeded the stated maximum allowed dimensions. I mentioned that he may have problems with the HOA since the deck did not meet the new standards. He said that he had actually had the deck approved by the HOA.

    While I applaud my neighbor for going through the correct process (as we all should). I have to wonder why any standards were set in the first place if they are not going to be enforced.

    If this specific case, I like the deck that has been built, and think that the approved desk sizes were too limiting. For the townhomes with extensions, the decks were limited to 10' x 12'. Once you place a table on a deck this size, there is little room left to place/use a grill (unless someone likes a very warm back).

    The following questions come to mind:
    1) Did the HOA seriously consider the size limit when they set the standards?
    2) Did they consider the consequences of granting an exception for the (i think) first deck to be built under the new standard?
    3) Is the exception process arbitrary? If not, what are the reasons for granting an exception

    Finally, I hope the review commitee did not make a mistake in granting an exception for this deck. If they did, and changes need to be made, I feel the cost of the change would have to be paid by the HOA. After all, the homeowner went through the correct process and was given leave to build the deck. He should not have to pay for a HOA mistake.

    (edited for spelling)
  4. Mearen

    Mearen New Member

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    If the standards aren't followed then they're not enforceable either.
  5. vacliff

    vacliff "You shouldn't say that."

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    bike4fun-
    Without all the specifics, I can not answer your questions. You can contact Arlene Filion at the HOA office 729-9714 and address your concerns with her. She can look it up for you.
    Exceptions can be granted with specific reasons.
    Regarding new sections: Sometimes we receive a standard created by the builder/developer. Sometimes thses standards are not too well thought out or too limiting. The Modification Subcommittee reviews these and can make recommendations, usually based on owner input, to change these standards.
  6. bike4fun

    bike4fun Member

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    Cliff,
    I really don't have a problem with the deck that was built. It followed all the standards except for size, and the increased size was definately needed to have a usable deck. I like the deck.

    It is nice to here that the standards can be changed based upon homeowner input. When I build my deck next year I will also go through the correct HOA approval process (in addition to getting the correct county permits).

    In this instance, it may be a case of the developer creating the standards. They may simply be trying to make sure no one builds a deck bigger or nicer than the ones they provide. That way they can sell more of there decks to the new homeowners. I know that the deck in question is larger than the ones VM offers, and at the same time cost the homeowner less than what VM would have charged for a deck only 60% of the size. This is why I choose to build my own deck.

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