What Do You Want?

A representative of Centex Homes said  that a Homeowner's Association is the property of the homeowners; they decide, either through their involvement, or through their neglect, what the disposition of the Board of Directors will be. In cases of homeowner neglect abuses will always occur. 

Do you really want the appearance of the neighborhood to always remain the same? The Board has taken it upon themselves to establish and enforce a standardized look for Shavano Ridge (SR). They have decided that all homes must blend in with one another; no homes will be allowed to stand out. An overall sense of blandness and standardization was stated as their visual goal. "Nothing can be striking." The Board of Directors has determined that SR will never progress beyond the "tract home look" projected by most new developments. As a neighborhood ages, it changes; and change, in most instances, comes for the better. Homeowners usually upgrade the appearance of their homes and add the distinctive touches that make their homes unique while giving the neighborhood some much-needed character. Standardization is a cost cutting measure; it rarely heightens aesthetic appeal.

SR is a two-developer subdivision, which limits the sort of variety that makes a neighborhood visually interesting. The same houses are seen on every block. A realtor pointed out that this is one reason why SR homes are not appreciating as fast as others in the area.  Adding color and landscaping are just about all that can be done to distinguish SR from similar subdivisions in the area. Is it possible to be affordable without looking affordable? None of the other subdivisions in the area are as restricted as SR. There are roofs of every color and composition, and paint colors of every shade and description. Nowhere, is there  evidence of the same type of restrictions that the Board is trying to impose on the homeowners of SR.

Do you really want every roof to look like every other? In the CC&Rs,  there are no limitations on roof types and colors in Shavano Ridge accept those restrictions imposed by the Board of Directors. This information is in Article VII paragraph two.

"Roofing shall be either slate, tile, factory fire treated wood, metal, or dimensional composition shingles, as approved by the ACC."

Since the ACC would approve only exact copies of the original roof types, it would appear that limitations imposed on the homeowners of Shavano Ridge were based solely on the limited aesthetic vision of the ACC. 

Do the homeowners really want to live in a neighborhood where residents are encouraged to turn in their neighbors? This is an excerpt from the "Committee Reports" section of the "Notice To Members Of The Shavano Ridge Homeowner's Association."

"... Please Call Chris Myles at the management office at 829-7202 if you see that there is something wrong or have a complaint."
Notice to Homeowners, March, 2001

This is the type of behavior documented in the Management Company page. Attorneys encourage this kind of behavior (they can charge anywhere from $50 to $500 per letter sent) and some Boards are only too willing to oblige. 

Do the homeowners really want bi-weekly street patrols out looking for "homeowners in violation?"  This can be found the April 2001 edition of Out on the Ridge.

"Covenant Violations Committee: Chris Myles rides through the neighborhood every 2 weeks, and sends letters to homeowners in violation of the covenant. It was suggested that system remain status quo."
Out on the Ridge, April, 2001

 The homeowners (through their assessments) are paying people to do this. Is this in the best interest of the residents of Shavano Ridge?

Do the homeowners really want the Board of Directors to come between themselves and every aspect of their property's appearance? The ACC had overstepped the bounds of their authority in a number of areas. Landscaping decisions are not subject to ACC approval except where decorative rock is concerned (may not exceed 10% of total area). Basketball hoops are required to be ten feet inside the property line-that's it. The ACC has indicated that a homeowner hasn't the right to change a slat in a fence, or set up a swing set for their kids without first asking the permission of the Board of Directors. 

Should a homeowner be forced to ask permission to do what is obviously permissible (sprinkle systems, pools, rain gutters)? There are sprinkler systems and pools throughout the community. In what possible circumstance could the Board ever justify a negative decision? What possible expertise can a board member bring to that decision? 

I hope this has provided some food for thought and that most of you will make your feelings known to the Board of Directors whatever they are. The homeowners have the power to make Shavano Ridge whatever they really want it to be.