The association, which hereafter I will refer to uncharitably, was responsible for maintaining the common grounds, the clubhouse and pool, and the standards of the neighborhood. A board of directors was elected by the residents, and said directors issue a newsletter, and tell us the business to which they attend. Included in the make-up of the board is an Architectural Committee and Director.
Pretty much anything past mowing your lawn, you need to get approval from the AC. Mostly this is pro forma, but if you want to take down a dead tree, put up a new fence, re-roof, or paint your house, do any additions, etc., you submit your request in writing and get approval before you start. (And if you don't mow your lawn often enough? You get nasty notices from the AC. Cut it, or we will, and we'll send you the bill. And if you refuse to pay this bill? They will slap a lien on your house.)
No boats, no campers, no political lawn signs.
All of which is to keep the value of our homes up, and I can understand that; however ...
I lost faith with the association when, a few years back, a developer wanted to do a commercial property on what was zoned residential land just around the corner from my house. The neighbors across the street would have the empty field backing up to their yards turned into whatever the developer could get going, and the idea of a McDonald's or a BK being built filled all of us with a certain wide-eyed horror. The traffic. The noise. The smells.
Well, on this end of the street it did. Such things would not impact the folks down at the other end of the street, which included the then-president of the association. So the board, in its wisdom, elected to support the developer.
We went to meetings of the land-use board in the city and testified, and to make a long ugly story short and ugly, we eventually lost to the developer. Won at the zoning board, lost to the Mayor's deciding vote.
Fortunately, what got built was a drugstore and not a Mickey D's, but still, our association had sided with the developer and it rankled.
Couple of my neighbors across the street sold their houses and moved. On a good day, warmed up, I can probably reach the roof of the drugstore with a baseball thrown from the street in front of my house.
Once, when we put up a wooden fence to make a small courtyard out front, with the association's approval, the AD came round. We had elected to leave the fence natural wood.
I think, he said, I'm going to make you paint this fence.
Oh, really? And are you going to make the other five folks on this street alone paint their natural wood fences, some of which have been up for ten years, as well? Because I'm sure as up-yours-Jack not painting mine otherwise.
Nor did I, nor did my neighbors. There was no rule that said it had to be so, the AD was simply being high-handed.
Some folks should not be allowed even the smallest bit of power.
This was about the time I started calling the association board the Neighborhood Nazis ...
This is all background to tell you the most recent association blunder.
To paint one's house, one must submit a swatch of the paint one wishes to use. The theme in this neighborhood is "Pacific Northwest Natural," whatever the hell that means. (Basically, this boils down to muted colors. Grays, greens, blues, even dark reds, but nothing primary, and nothing heavy to the pastel end.)
So down the street and a block over, a family picked out a color, sent the swatch in, and was approved. Painted their house.
But, oh, my, it was much more pastel a blue than it looked on the swatch! It stood out brightly. A nearby neighbor complained. It wouldn't do!
So the debate arose: This color isn't right. The homeowners in the sky-blue house are being cooperative, but really, they don't feel as if they should have to pay to repaint their house, and while I'm not a lawyer, I would think that if push came to trial, they would have a very good case. They followed the rules. It wasn't their screw-up.
So what to do? Leave it? Pay to repaint it from the homeowners' dues? There are enough houses here that tacking ten bucks on our yearly dues would cover it. Let it stand until it needs to be repainted, fifteen or twenty years down the line?
I will be fascinated to see how it all shakes out ...