How we got here…
For myself, the tale of how we got to this point with the HOA is important in why we feel the HOA has reached an unsalvageable point. Strap in, sit down and read this if you would like to understand why we feel the way we do.
We purchased our home in November 2015. As we moved in we were met with pure and honest true open arms by our neighbors. And even as of today we love all our friends and the neighbors who we are close with. The first issue with the HOA board occurred in 2017. We had both registered our email address with the board to get any updated they sent out. Especially as this was the end of the physical newsletter, this was much more important. We noted and checked over and over to make sure my husband’s address was the one listed in the account profile, and was the one for “official communications”. We had it confirmed several times. Come times for the 2017 Annual Dues, and we got no physical statement. We got no email statement, nothing came. If we do not have a bill, we won’t just randomly send money to “pay a bill” without proof of the debt. As we worked to try to solve the issue, we were getting few enough responses from the management company at that time. Finally my email address, the one NOT tied to the address or account, received the statement with late fees associated. We tried to call, tried to solve the issue, and eventually had to engage our attorney to send letters to get the problem corrected. Our attorney sent letters multiple times before finally getting a response. It took until June of that year to get the problem solved.
In 2018 we built a shed in our back yard. The first interaction with the ACC committee (Board and management company) and the bureaucratic BS one must go thru. We looked at the CC&Rs and went straight to the section on sheds. There was no mention of any application needed in that exact section, so we built our new shed. A few weeks later and we are getting ready for bed, and are greeted with pounding on our door (We have a ring doorbell), dogs barking, and once my husband was able to get to the door, he was intercepted by someone being rude and shoving a piece of paper into his hand. This is at 8:15pm! As my husband asked for proof of who the gentleman was, the management company rep got heated, and rude, and as mu husband pointed out the exact wording of the CC&Rs back to that rep, he got angry and made threats to us on our own doorstep. The rep had no identifying logos, badges or anything that showed who he worked for, and it was after 8:00pm at night. Not a good way to go! We slammed the door in his face. We decided to just do the application and get it filed, so the next day we filled out the form and sent it in. That management company did get the approval quickly, but then getting the form back to us was a similar nightmare. It included another late-night visit from the same rep, this time at 9:00pm. Also he had promised to drop it off one evening, yet seemed to make excuses for days on why he didn’t show when promised. All-in-all it was a disaster.
We felt that was too much to ignore, so we submitted all the info to the Board, and they came to our home to meet. Initially the responses were hostile from the board, but as they understood the issues more, they revealed they had no knowledge of the billing issues nor the fact that an attorney had contacted the HOA to settle that issue. They also understood how we felt about the management company and their actions regarding the shed, and they left us feeling that maybe things would be better. During that meeting, we revealed we had purchased a domain for the HOA, we had seen it on the open market and bought it to protect it. That domain is jordanwillowshoa.com (we also have .net, .info and .org of the same). We offered to produce a website for the HOA that could give a virtual newsletter where people could go to get official information, AT NO COST to the HOA, we would cover the domain, hosting and maintenance. We also offered to produce the physical newsletter for them. We have high-speed color laser printers that can handle projects like that. We also possess the design and layout software to make a newsletter like that look nice and professional. The newsletter would have also been AT NO COST to the HOA, with the exception of postage should they decide to mail it. The board told us they would discuss it and get back to us. This was in October or November 2018. We felt maybe things would be ok. By the annual meeting in early 2019, we had not heard back from the Board regarding the site and newsletter, so we reminded them of the offer and were given the same answer, they would talk about it and get back to us. Never once did we get a response.
So we have the newsletter that many people have asked for and a website that could help to consolidate the conversations (There are currently something like 6-9 different FB groups that deal with the HOA stuff, most unofficial). One would think that the Board would jump at that, but instead they ignored us, not even the courtesy or a yes or no. Eventually we felt the positive feelings from the meeting we had held with the Board were all a facade. They didn’t really care.
Fast-forward to 2020. We wanted to add a second smaller shed in the back yard. We planned our start date, and submitted an ACC application to them on 9/13/2020 with a start date of 10/15/2020. We mailed it to them priority mail with tracking and know it was signed for on the 15th of September. We have had trust issues with the HOA regarding email addresses because of the first issue with them that resulted in the attorney actions. Because of that we always file any documentation to physical mail only. About a week after the submission, we got a phone call from the management company wanting to know about one measurement on the new shed, which I gave them that same call. That left us thinking it would be done and back to us in plenty of time. We had chosen the 15th of October as a start date because the shed build was advertising a major price increase after that date. We were scheduled to avoid that increase. As the days ticked by, and we got closer to the start date, I called Parker Brown many times trying to get someone to talk to so that we could ensure we were good on our start-date. Every call was met with a disconnected phone number. Finally when we hit the 14th with no response, we had no choice but to reschedule our start date, and pay the increased fees. The fees increased because of the delays by the HOA Board and Management Company. We received the signed approval on 10/17/2020, two days after the scheduled start date. When we looked at the document, it was signed on 10/9/2020. It was postmarked on 10/15/2020. So it was not mailed until after 30 days had elapsed. According to the CC&Rs, if an ACC request is not “responded to” within 30 days, it is disallowed. That is contrary to almost every other HOA out there. We have spoken with a large number of people in other HOAs in other cities, and other states. All of them state that an ACC request, if not responded to in 30 days is automatically APPROVED. There is incentive to act on those requests in other HOAs, whereas here, if they don’t like the person, they could just let the application pass 30 days and then it is not allowed by rule.
We submitted very shortly thereafter a letter to the HOA from our attorney asking for relief for the added costs due to the delays imposed by the Board and Parker Browns lack of action. A nasty, threatening letter was sent back from Parker Brown denying any relief and stating that if we proceeded to pursue the issue and they were forced to get legal representation, that we would be assessed on our home, ALL legal costs the Board and Parker Brown incurred fighting us. To my knowledge, that is not even legal. So we felt that we would appeal to the Board directly over the $501.47 increased costs, trying to keep Parker Brown out of the conversation. So on 11/20/2020 we sent a copy of ALL of the letters, proof of postmarks, etc. to the then board members (keep in mind the board changed 3 times in 2020). It was mailed as a 54 page document with copies of everything. Included we sent a reapplication for the ACC process since our new start date was more than 30 days after the prior approval. Parker Brown actually got the approval back to us within a week, however none of the Board at that time (Chris Martin, Derek Farnes and Larry Kettenring) responded to the 54 page document. The cover letter included a call to action to negotiate about this issue. No response yet again. On the 21st of December, we sent a letter to the Board Members homes at that time (Chris Martin, Derek Farnes, Stan Rasmussen and Jason Moss) requesting an emergency meeting to discuss the lack of cooperation and communication. We wanted to address the refusal to respond in any way. We asked for them to respond to the letter in 7 days, with a Zoom call to follow within 7 days after that. Yet again, NO RESPONSE! Are we seeing a pattern yet? Finally we sent an email to the board with the Zoom call information and they responded saying they were not going to talk about the issue and had issued their decision back in October/November. That was the last communication.
As you can imagine, we were very upset. We had gone from being happy to live here to asking others quietly if they had experienced anything like we had. It seems that few others have had this kind of blatant discrimination. We have had to ask ourselves why would the board discriminate against us, and it could only come down to one of a few things. We are not part of the dominant religion, we both have some level of disability, and of course, we are gay. We are not sure if it was one of those reasons or all, but it seems clear that since not everyone is being treated this way, there must be a reason. All that we have ever asked is that people follow the rules, and that includes the Board. And all we have ever wanted was to live in peace and make our home nice. I wish we had an answer.
Now with the dangerous attempt at a power grab by the HOA Board, we feel the time has passed where we can just sit on the sidelines. We must act, not only to protect ourselves, but also to help protect our neighbors. You can help too. We must not let the Board get away with these documents. Thanks for listening.