Jump to content


Photo

Demise of an Observatory... Death by HOA

  • Please log in to reply
117 replies to this topic

#26 Dan M

Dan M

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 173
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Central Texas

Posted 20 July 2014 - 08:11 PM

What is the statue of limitations in Arizona regarding HOA's notifying one to remedy an HOA violation? Here in Texas it is four years (what a coincidence!) and there have been many an HOA that tried to trick the property owner (four or more years later) to remedy a violation they missed or they previously approved. Those who knew of the statue of limitations took the HOA to court and the HOA was slapped by the county court system because the statue of limitations had already expired. All you need is proof when you put it there and you have that. In some cases the HOA had to pay a hefty fine in addition to their court costs for course.

#27 JJK

JJK

    Vanguard

  • -----
  • Posts: 2085
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2008

Posted 20 July 2014 - 08:48 PM

Is there a way to build a partial wall (and have the shed doors open from the opposite side), with materials consistent with the facade of your home's exterior walls? In that way, the observatory would not be visible from the street view and the screen would look like an architectural element?

#28 johne

johne

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 471
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Prescott, AZ.

Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:57 AM

Sorry for the delay in getting back to y'all. Its been a busy weekend here.

Footbag/Adam: No lawyers. As much as I hate to admit it, its a small community and I see/talk with these people frequently. For me, its just not worth it to go to (legal) battle against my neighbors.

lambermo: Like everything else... a plan has to be submitted to the Architecture Review Committee (ARC) for approval. Since I live on a hill/side of a mtn and passersby can look down on the house/roof, I doubt that the ARC would approve it.. Secondly, even if they would approve it, I would not longer trust that the approval was permanent.

Christopher Erikson: Interesting that you offer that solution... my brother-in-law has a friend that says he can construct/fabricate an observatory to look like a tree. Cost is a whole-nother matter. Lawyers... sorry, not me.

GJJim: Thanks. I agree with you completely.

piaras: Sorry, no lawyers for me. Too expensive and I don't want to fight my neighbors. I really like the area I'm in, so I don't plan on move.

Glen A W: Yes, I was disappointed to learn that the HOA members actually took into consideration what the realtors had to say. As for move to darker skies... I've had an SQM meter installed on the Obs. for well over a year, recording and logging sky conditions. A typical dark night here is 21.1 to 21.4... plenty dark for me. :)

Proteus5: As I mentioned earlier, I'm not one to go to battle against my neighbors. In the current scheme of things, its just not worth it and I'd rather not "waste" my money fighting something that there's no indication that I could actually win.

dawziecat: Thanks for your feedback.

Calypte: Thank you. I've been through the CC&R's. They didn't spell out that the structure was prohibited. We did follow the rules. The board did not say that it was against the CR&R's... they said that they had the authority to override approvals by the ARC... which they did.

Digital Don: Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to avoid the use of an attorney and not fight my neighbors.

TCW: Yes, I do have the originals and the ARC's approval. Interestingly, the ex-HOA board president emailed me a copy of them about a week after the letter. I think even he was a bit miffed at the rescinding of the approval.

rimcrazy: Our home is situated on the side of a mtn/steep hill. The back yard is not the best for me for the following reasons: (1) The house would completely block most everything from the zenith to the east and the neighbors house and trees blocks most everything to the south. (2) We have about 6 to 8" of rocky topsoil followed by fractured granite. Any type of digging back there is an immense pain in the butt. (3) The HOA would still have to approve plans... and I just don't trust them any more.

#29 gdd

gdd

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1715
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Lynnwood, WA (N/O Seattle)

Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:18 AM

There must be other neigborhoods in Prescott. Hopefully you will not have to pay a premium to find a HOA-free home.

Gale

#30 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11505
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:10 AM

If you don't stand up for yourself, its only gonna get worse......if nothing else put some wheels on it and roll it out when needed.....To paraphrase the Blues Brothers, "I hate Yard Nazis".....sometimes ya gotta fight back....

#31 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27939
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 21 July 2014 - 12:56 PM

HOA's are typically run by someone or a group with a bit of a Napoleon complex. I never have and never will live in such a neighborhood.

David

#32 youngamateur42

youngamateur42

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1855
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2012
  • Loc: La Verne, CA

Posted 21 July 2014 - 02:34 PM

Very sorry to hear John, PM'd you.

#33 Calypte

Calypte

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1169
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2007
  • Loc: Anza, California

Posted 21 July 2014 - 02:56 PM

I guess I'm a bit mystified at the workings of the OP's particular HOA. In my old community, the HOA board had to vote on anything significant that the architectural committee approved. Even repainting a house required approval, which I thought was a bit odd, since we were required to maintain our properties, but repainting (which seems to me to be a function of maintenance) still had to be approved, even if one chose one of the preferred color schemes. Something like the OP's telescope shelter would have required architectural committee approval, neighbor signoffs, and it would have gone before the full board. If approved (which in our community was unlikely), there would be no way for the board to demand removal on the grounds that they hadn't approved it in the first place.

#34 MJB87

MJB87

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 180
  • Joined: 17 Feb 2014
  • Loc: Talbot County, MD

Posted 21 July 2014 - 04:06 PM

Sounds like a potential case of adverse possession, in which case failure to act initially by the HOA could negate their claims to title. Worth a conversation with a real lawyer.

#35 Orion58

Orion58

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 920
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Southern Wisconsin

Posted 21 July 2014 - 05:28 PM

I hesitate to cast judgment on this particular HOA and I won't...but I will tell you exactly what crossed my mind as I read the post. When I was a very young man, my father was quite upset at a politician. I will never forget his words - "Son, there is an example of a hundred dollar hat on a ten cent head"..... :grin:

John, I will say that I'm sad to hear that this may cause you to sell most of your equipment and quit astrophotography. If I may be so bold as to suggest that you take a period of time to gather your thoughts - let the dust settle and ponder your options. If you still feel like selling your gear, then so be it... but by waiting you just may discover other options that permit you to continue in this wonderful hobby.

Good luck!

#36 gdd

gdd

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1715
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Lynnwood, WA (N/O Seattle)

Posted 21 July 2014 - 06:04 PM

Can you store your equipment in the garage, ready to roll out and placed in a marked spot to minimize setup time? Might have to get rid of a car or other stuff in storage.

Are there places close by you can buy or rent where you can set up an observatory?

Gale

#37 proteus5

proteus5

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1454
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Southern New Jersey

Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:09 PM

Sad to see that you don't feel your rights are worth standing up for. What you feel is minor now might be much bigger later once the HOA realizes you're not a fighter even when you are so much in the right with the original approval. All in all good luck with whatever you decide.

#38 frolinmod

frolinmod

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1929
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:07 PM

The likely least expensive way to handle this is to move. Moving is expensive, especially if you end up needing to make repairs or improvements in order to sell, but lawyers are even more expensive and come with no guarantees.

#39 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11505
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:04 PM

Paint it Police Box Blue and put a flashing light on top of it.......tell the neighbors its a security issue.....

#40 Glen A W

Glen A W

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1021
  • Joined: 04 Jul 2008
  • Loc: USA

Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:19 PM

I agree - either move or stay put and do absolutely nothing to bug them.

I am sorry to say, this kind of thing sounds like someone was looking for a fight. I know that once they got going on us in our neighborhood, it was nonstop for two decades. Most of the neighbors were our friends, and some were victims of the fascists too, so it was a confusing situation. It was unclear who the complainer was and we could never find out. But I don't think they can be beat. They play mean.

Glen

#41 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11505
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:47 PM

They came for my astronomer neighbors, and I said nothing; then they came for my neighbor with the off colored house, and I said nothing; then the came for me, and my good neighbors were all gone.....

#42 TCW

TCW

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2168
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2013
  • Loc: Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away.

Posted 21 July 2014 - 11:44 PM

What ever you do don't fly an American flag. That really makes the Mrs. Grundys see red. ;)

#43 seawolfe

seawolfe

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1161
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2013
  • Loc: N 47.11.23 W 122.20.18

Posted 22 July 2014 - 04:36 AM

What ever you do don't fly an American flag. That really makes the Mrs. Grundys see red. ;)


Yeah, and don't even think of flyin' the Stars 'n Bars! :grin:

#44 1965healy

1965healy

    The Snarkster

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 9071
  • Joined: 23 Jun 2007
  • Loc: San Antonio, TX

Posted 22 July 2014 - 06:43 AM

You need lawn art. Gnomes, pinwheel flamingos, one of those semi submerged concrete crocodiles.

#45 Aquarist

Aquarist

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1041
  • Joined: 27 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Illinois

Posted 22 July 2014 - 06:48 AM

You need lawn art. Gnomes, pinwheel flamingos, one of those semi submerged concrete crocodiles.


this.

#46 nytecam

nytecam

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11542
  • Joined: 20 Aug 2005
  • Loc: London UK

Posted 22 July 2014 - 09:42 AM

Sorry to hear your negative news - glad we don't have HOA in England but don't think our Council planners permit front of house to the street erections. Do pretty much as we please in rear yard if of modest size:-)

#47 Calypte

Calypte

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1169
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2007
  • Loc: Anza, California

Posted 22 July 2014 - 10:48 AM

Maybe nytecam knows this; maybe terminology is different in the UK: "HOA" = "homeowners' association." They are usually created by builders of communities. Until most homes are sold in a community, the builder retains a majority vote on the board that governs the HOA. In California, the general structure of the association must be approved by the state, but little things like we're discussing in this thread are usually beyond control of the state. I assume (but don't know) that most other states are similar.

The purposes of HOAs vary. Some HOA's are established merely to ensure the upkeep of the community's appearance; some include maintenance of amenities such as swimming pools, gym facilities, meeting rooms, even golf courses. Accordingly, the monthly assessment paid by homeowners varies widely. I only paid $33.60 monthly in my old HOA, but the assessment in fancy ones can be $100s. Infractions to rules or judgments in an HOA can be enforced by fines, which accumulate if unpaid. They have the force of law. They constitute a lien on the property which must be paid prior to selling the property.

Prior to living in a community with an HOA, we lived in a community where a few homeowners kept derelict cars on their property, or some would not maintain the exterior appearance of their homes. These things affect the value of everybody's home, but there's not much nearby homeowners can do about it. An HOA provides some protection. We now live in a rural community (dark skies!) with minimum 2-1/2 acre lots and no HOA. But the price of no HOA is that properties can be as nicely kept or as junky as individual owners wish, and there's nothing much we can do about it except maybe to call in county code enforcement in extreme cases.

Edited to add: Most communities don't have HOAs. Their popularity has waxed and waned according to the legal environment and whatever marketing advantage the builder feels they may yield. HOAs are often targets for lawsuits, and such lawsuits can encumber everybody's property. If the OP decided to fight rather than cave (which apparently has been his decision), then he could create real trouble for his HOA. I worked in new-home sales for several years. Some customers wanted an HOA, to maintain the appearance of the community; other customers were horrified by the expense and expected restrictions.

#48 gdd

gdd

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1715
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Lynnwood, WA (N/O Seattle)

Posted 22 July 2014 - 03:19 PM

The purposes of HOAs vary. Some HOA's are established merely to ensure the upkeep of the community's appearance; some include maintenance of amenities such as swimming pools, gym facilities, meeting rooms, even golf courses.



The HOA needs to provide an observatory as one of the ameneities. :dalek:

#49 Calypte

Calypte

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1169
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2007
  • Loc: Anza, California

Posted 22 July 2014 - 05:10 PM

The HOA needs to provide an observatory as one of the ameneities. :dalek:

There's a development in Borrego Springs, CA, that has one. But I don't know if the HOA maintains it or just an interested resident.

#50 Christopher Erickson

Christopher Erickson

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2273
  • Joined: 08 May 2006
  • Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Posted 22 July 2014 - 11:48 PM

The absolute best defense against a renegade HOA is to bite the bullet, go to all of the meetings and get on the board.


I find it amazing that the one tried-and-true solution I have found has been completely ignored and not received a single reply!

It's just like voting. If you aren't involved, how can you gripe about the results?

:lalalala:






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics