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Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:58 AM

HOA costs community $400,000 fighting "Obama for President" sign

Feud over sign could force Fairfax’s Olde Belhaven to sell square

By Justin Jouvenal, Published: February 9

The feud that consumed Fairfax County’s Olde Belhaven would span four years and cost the community as much as $400,000, and it was ignited by one of the smallest of sparks: an Obama for President sign.

The modest placard Sam and Maria Farran planted in their yard during the 2008 election put them on a collision course with the neighborhood homeowners association. It was four inches taller than the association’s covenants allowed.

“Need I say more! This would lead to chaos,” a neighbor fretted in an e-mail about the precedent that would be set if the sign wasn’t removed. “Our property values would be put at risk.”

Such HOA disputes are as suburban as cul-de-sacs and two-car garages, but few metastasize into legal battles that spend years in the courts, break legal ground and bankrupt the HOA.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-homeowners-group-humbled-by-court-battle-with-residents/2013/02/09/d46f9bec-6652-11e2-93e1-475791032daf_print.html

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Reply HOA costs community $400,000 fighting "Obama for President" sign (Original post)
cbdo2007 Feb 2013 OP
pipoman Feb 2013 #1
FSogol Feb 2013 #3
appal_jack Feb 2013 #9
Drale Feb 2013 #4
niyad Feb 2013 #5
pipoman Feb 2013 #12
niyad Feb 2013 #2
Fresh_Start Feb 2013 #6
Daninmo Feb 2013 #7
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #10
pipoman Feb 2013 #11
AnotherMcIntosh Feb 2013 #8
Buns_of_Fire Feb 2013 #13
CBGLuthier Feb 2013 #14
just1voice Feb 2013 #15
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #16

Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:10 AM

1. How about if you don't want to live under an

authoritarian group of little Napoleons, you don't buy in a sub division controlled by little Napoleons, eh? Signing an agreement, as is required in HOA controlled sub divisions, which you agree to abide by the rules no matter how infantile, gives one no ground to bitch from, IMHO..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:12 AM

3. Read the article. These Napoleons went over and above the written agreements and it cost them. n/t

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Response to FSogol (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:42 AM

9. "Gotta keep your hoa's in check, yo." ...n/t

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Response to pipoman (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:13 AM

4. If you don't stand up and say NO sometimes those "Little Napoleons"

will continue to expand their power until they control every subdivision. And I read that this particular Association board gave themselves executive powers in a secret meeting.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:13 AM

5. that is good as far as it goes. however, in reading the whole story, it seems that the hoa

far exceeded the contract signed by residents--was even slapped down by the courts several times. one can move into a neighborhood run by an hoa that seems fairly normal, and then, with a new election, a new board of, as you called them, "little napoleons" takes over. have seen it happen.

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Response to niyad (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:56 AM

12. That's why I chose to spend the same amount

I would have spent in a division to buy a rural acreage..I don't need a building permit to move my house (as I did last year), or build a garage...don't even need an inspection..

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:11 AM

2. some hoa's are completely out of control, run by power-hungry little jerks who seem to love the

sense of control they have.

on the other hand, I have heard of hoa's (one here in this community), where the board actually works to help make the residents' lives better. in the one here, a woman who lived in the association community had not been maintaining her yard--it was weedy and overgrown and dying. instead of harassing and fining her, the members of the board (having learned that she was very ill) actually got out there and cleaned up the yard themselves. imagine--an actual neighborhood community.

as for the story--sounds to me like the guy hughes was the one who started it all--the man made some very ugly threats, and seemed to have some major control issues.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:21 AM

6. To be honest, I don't know my HOA rules on signage...

it looks to me like the homeowners attempted to comply after the complaint by cutting the sign in half and posting two shorter signs which did comply with the height limits.
But that wasn't enough for the HOA nazis....
Its a pity that cooler heads did not prevail.
But petty bureaucrats get their undies in a bunch and try to win at any cost.

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Response to Fresh_Start (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:25 AM

7. "Little Napoleons"?

Aren't these just gov'ts on the small scale?

IMO, this makes proper choices in voting more crucial. Bummer when you only have a few knuckleheads to choose from.

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Response to Daninmo (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:46 AM

10. Nope. They are the governing board of a private corporation.

Civics FAIL.

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Response to Daninmo (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:53 AM

11. The only people who live in the upscale neighborhoods who

wish to spend their time driving around with a ruler to measure grass, or micro manage their neighbors are authoritarian busybodies..

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:28 AM

8. As much as $400,000? Some authoritarian figures overstepped their authority given to them in the

 

covenants by falsely asserting that they had the power to impose fines. A judge ruled that the covenants did not grant them such power.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-homeowners-group-humbled-by-court-battle-with-residents/2013/02/09/d46f9bec-6652-11e2-93e1-475791032daf_print.html

Either
(1) they undoubtedly knew from the covenants in their possession that the covenants did not grant them such power but decided to continue with an unjustified lawsuit while draining the HOA's assets or
(2) they relied upon the advice of an attorney who knew or should have known that the covenants did not grant such power.


If the authoritarian figures wasted the HOA's assets to prove a point, and if other HOA members are unhappy about the waste of the HOA's assets, they should consider suing the authoritarian figures for corporate waste.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_judgment_rule

If the authoritarian power-lovers otherwise relied upon a negligent attorney in good faith, they should consider suing the attorney for malpractice.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:24 PM

13. A not-so-local YuppieCompany avoided the problem completely.

They bought acreage with beautiful views of the nearby mountains. Cleared the land, drew up lot lines, placed the streets (with suitable YuppieNames), had soil work done for the septic systems, arranged for electrical and water service, had sample plans for "acceptable" houses, and so on and so on.

Oh, and drew up a set of covenants so restrictive that no one would buy lots there.

Today (about five years later), the land lies, cleared and surveyed, with not one house (or tree) on it. No streets. No nothin'. The company went bankrupt a few years ago, and now an "acreage for sale" sign sits at the entrance.

Potential problem solved!

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:30 PM

14. I would live on the street before I would live under an HOA

petty tyrants with a little power run amok. Fuck that!

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 12:41 AM

15. That's classic Fairfax, Virginia behavior

 

I lived in Fairfax for 7 years and the repugs spend huge amounts of time and money on silencing people while simultaneously spewing lies and hypocrisy about keeping the government "out of our lives".

Virginia repugs are the worst cases of what was called "the Romney Syndrome", an entire set of mental conditions so conflicting with reality it should be officially recognized as a syndrome. Sadly, I see the exact same syndrome affecting many of today's party loyalists regardless of political affiliation.

Fairfax, Virginia is a good place to study this "syndrome" because of the higher education levels there. People there sincerely believe they are smarter and better than other people, which leads to erratic and excessive behaviors as cited in the article.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 12:50 AM

16. How dumb do you have to be to buy into a HOA community in the first place?

 

Read the article & between the lines.

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