Residents sign declaration of independence from HOA

July 8, 2010 12:33:38 PM PDT
People in one neighborhood are fighting back, trying to disband from their homeowners association. They are unhappy with a plan to put in a new park and other decisions made by the HOA. The Lakes of Edgewater subdivision is in the First Colony neighborhood. People there are spearheading the campaign to change their HOA.

The homeowners in Lakes of Edgewater are leading the charge to get First Colony residents to sign a so-called "declaration of independence" from the First Colony Community Improvement Association. It's a fight that started over plans for a spray park and the planned closure of community pools.

A flyer was circulated around First Colony this past holiday weekend asking residents to sign a declaration of independence from their homeowner's association.

"We feel that this is a situation of taxation without representation," said Jonathan Day, attorney for the homeowners.

At issue is First Colony Community Association's $11 million master plan that includes building a parking lot, spray park and pavilion at a quiet nature park and playground in the Lakes of Edgewater subdivision.

Terri Harris has lived in Lakes of Edgewater for two decades and hates the master plan.

"We like the natural look and when you end up putting a spray park, a large pavilion... the playground has a dragon motif," said a disappointed Harris.

What makes people in other First Colony subdivisions mad are the plans to close five of 10 swimming pools.

"We're disappointed in any of the pools in First Colony that close," said homeowner Margaret Brumfield.

"We buy in these neighborhoods because of the pools when you've got kids," said homeowner Linda Wearing.

The executive director of the association sent a statement to Eyewitness News, saying in part, "First Colony Community Association surveyed residents and worked with a consulting firm to assess existing costs, usage and conditions of the community's recreation facilities. The assessment identified an increase in costs and decrease in the use of our neighborhood pools."

However, the attorney for the homeowners says 70 percent of neighbors near the proposed spray park oppose the idea, and says when the board overlooked that, they decided to demand voting rights - this so-called declaration of independence.

"It's the best way to save this park. It's the best way to save the pools," said Day.

The declaration demands the board notify neighbors of any changes, give them 60 days to vote on it and abandon plans if at least 50 percent vote against it.

And if the board ignores this declaration of independence?

"OK, where's some other neighborhood that I can move to where this will not impact me," said Harris.

The attorney for the homeowners said they have one year to sign the declaration, and if enough residents do, it could become legally binding.


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