My dad was a cattle rancher, my mom a farmer from Iowa. They had little experience with suburbia growing up. I, however was born in OakTown. Kaiser Hospital, Grand Avenue. Thankfully, they left that environment before my lack of pigment got me more than a couple of stiff beatings. That was back when “down and out” was good. No need for the .44 going off in your ear.
Having spent most of my life thereafter in country suburban settings, where “dogs run free,” I have never been exposed to real estate developments as a remote possibility for a residence.
I am a minimalist. My lovely and attractive wife is not. So now we live in a 5 bedroom 3 bath monster of a home in a brand new subdivision. I have a 60’ x 60’ lawn in the back. Like I need this at the age of 65.
At this age, I am retired from the 9-5. I keep some rental property in California, but we have moved to Washington State to be near my wife’s aged parents, and her siblings. I still write my blogs and keep my tenants happy, but it only takes a few hours a day. There are countless things to do in this playland of lakes, farms, parks, and trees. Especially with my 4 year old Lab buddy, Lexie.
The neighborhood homeowners’ association was recently handed down to the community, from the developer. Having all this extra time, and an interest in the community, I volunteered for service on the board. It was the best decision I’ve made up here.
There is so much to learn, and we do every day. It seems as though we are reinventing the wheel, as this has to be happening in thousands of developed communities across the land. We find new resources every day, and have diverese opinions regarding exactly how far an HOA should go to “maintain order.” My philosophy is to live and let live, just as long as the lawn are trimmed and nobody trys to paint their house bright red. Others on the board are far more “by the book.” There are rather obvious special interests that some of the members are sensitive to, and others that we just ignore.
Responsibility and enforcement are key issues that we continue to struggle with. Although the Community “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” or CC&Rs, spell out some guidelines, but the board has to interpret how literally we wish to enforce them.It’s harder to be objective when its your best friend and next door neighbor who has his panel truck parked in his driveway. But, if its OK for one, then its OK for all. There are issues with which we all agree, but are just too petty to inforce. Then there are others that simply get taken out of our hands. We agreed that the kids in our development could have those movable basketball hoops. I hate them, but the kids gotta do something, right. One of the members just would not leave it alone, and kept on digging. You know what, he was right! The County has forbidden it so it is now out of our hands. Who would have known. Now we have a set of rules that has been written down all along. That would have been nice to have tucked into the “welcome to the Board” kit we never got.
It is an evolution, but one I am proud to be part of. It does remind one to keep an open mind, and an active participation. I recently found myself in a development very near my house that did not put forth the effort to maintain these standards. Let’s just say that I feel the effort we are putting towards this is well worth it. We got one rock, and we all gotta live on it. Done blow it!