April 17, 2012
It’s not often I get hung up on when I call a homeowners association board member to offer congratulations for a job well done.
But that’s what happened Monday when I dialed up Bob Ricketts of the Villages at Sand Creek HOA board. I called to confirm news the board had apologized to Carol Zier after citing her for a covenant violation and giving her 30 days to repaint the trim on her shed.
Maybe you saw the story.
Carol called me after getting the violation letter from the HOA board. She was upset because the trim wasn’t peeling or chipped. It simply was the wrong shade, not an exact match to her house trim.
And it didn’t matter it had been that shade for 12 years!
Worse, Carol said, the HOA was ignoring the shabby condition of its own fence along an HOA-owned walkway which provides neighborhood access to a city trail system on the perimeter of the 141-acre neighborhood off Airport Road at Sand Creek.
One of the HOA fences borders Carol’s home and it was bare, rotting wood.
Yet HOA nitpickers were taking issue with the shade of her shed trim.
I pointed out the contradiction in my March 29 column and I declared that Carol would be forced to repaint her trim long before the HOA fence was restained.
I was wrong.
On Friday, Carol got a letter from the HOA management company informing her the HOA board had discussed her shed trim “at length” and concluded she should be “grandfathered in” because the HOA had no enforcement committee when her trim was painted 12 years ago.
“In the future, if the house is repainted, then the trim on the shed should also be painted to match the house at that time,” the letter said.
But that wasn’t all.
“They would like to apologize for the violation that you were sent since they were not aware of the fact that the trim was originally the correct color,” it said.
Carol was thrilled.
“I was a little surprised they were so nice,” she said.
And you know what? As Carol was reading me the letter, an HOA maintenance man was busy staining the walkway fence.
Imagine that. I was wrong. There’s a first time for everything. And I’m glad.
I called Ricketts back, but our conversation was brief.
“When you have volunteer board members trying to do the best they can, it gets old getting attacked by the local newspaper,” Ricketts said, citing a Gazette editorial that called HOA board members “neighborhood bullies” and urged a revolt.
I wanted to know details about the board discussions. I wanted to ask about a few houses neighbors tell me have been non-compliant for years. Why did the HOA single out Carol, neighbors asked me, while ignoring one on Brush Creek Drive, another on Wintergreen Circle and the half-painted trim on Sand Creek Drive?
I wanted to give him an "attaboy" for apologizing to Carol and fixing the fence.
But Ricketts wasn’t up for a chat with me.
“This conversation,” he said, “is over.”
See photos on my blog.