Hi Neighbors -
I hope this finds you well on a Sunday afternoon. The Board wishes to bring you up to speed on an issue that has come up regarding our CCR's regarding using your home office for work. We value the trust you place in us to represent the community and want to be open and correct things when attempts are made to inappropriately reframe board actions. Attempts are being made today by neighbors to suggest that the board is sending violations to people for working from home. This is very far from the truth - and if we were doing anything close to that it would be cause for concern. It is unfortunate that we have to deal with this, but we have drafted language for an upcoming vote (yet to be scheduled) that makes it very clear that working from home is of course perfectly fine (and no violations for this have ever been considered or sent) while operating a business that generates traffic and visitors to the community is not what we as a community want. The language we have drafted is consistent with other communities in our area and newer communities that have been built in the post-Covid era. The Board is thankful for the vast majority of the community that doesn't get bogged down in some of these tactics we see on social media.
For transparency, here is the non-final language that we are discussing in order to clear this up:
“No Owner shall occupy or use his/her Lot or any Improvements constructed thereon, or permit the same or any part thereof to be occupied or used for any purpose other than as a private residence for the Owner, his family, guests and tenants which excludes use of the Lot or Improvements for manufacturing, trade, business, commerce, industry, or other occupation whatsoever other than a home office which does not accept invitees, clients, customers, or students. No home business operation with or without invitees will be permitted if the operation requires manufacturing, warehousing, or assembly on the Lot.”
If you have comments or concerns, please email us - feel free to reply here. It is our goal simply to represent the majority interests of the community.
Why is this an issue now?
The Board received a complain last month that a neighbor was operating a swim school out of her property that generated excessive traffic. Upon reaching the neighbor with a courtesy notice, the neighbor responded that she was not operating a commercial swim school, rather she was offering free swim lessons to kids of friends of hers. We replied “ok thanks” and moved on - as the Board is not an investigative body and took her at her word. Within days, the Board received detailed evidence of 27 vehicles just in the previous few days with license plates, pictures, videos. Upon looking at the gate code usage, the neighbor's gate code usage went from 18 uses the prior month to 172 in April (the month of the complaint). The data shows that this code usage exceeded all other averages by far. While it is impossible to say that these code uses were tied to a business, when you combine the screenshots shared of the neighbor advertising swim lessons to be taught at “a pool off Trautwein” and the detailed car videos and license plates, we made the best decision we can make and determined that whether non-profit or for profit, this met the criteria that the Board would determine is operating a business and we asked that it stop. In fact, we researched other such issues in other communities and found that such a determination was supported and logical. Attorney discussions followed (the neighbor sending the Board a letter followed by a call). The neighbor's attorney shared that the Board should treat anyone working from home as a violation since it was the same thing as operating a swim school. In the end, we settled the matter without any expenditures on legal (thankfully) and the swim operation stopped. In the process, we explained that while the Board makes this finding, we are happy to walk through the process for changing the CCR's should that be desired and enough interest was demonstrated. The Board met with the neighbor today to hear them on proposals and agreed that with enough interest we would add another set of language to the proposal. After the meeting, it seems the discussion took a very different path on social media.
The community should be aware that the Neighborhood group as it stands today is tightly controlled by the neighbor who received the violation. As a Board member, I (Justin) attempted to set the record straight and balance the communication letting you know that there is a lot more to the issue, as the initial post was very misleading. My comment was very quickly removed and I was removed from the group. This is unfortunate but true. If anyone has concerns, we are happy to discuss. It is our goal for everyone to live peacefully here, keep our property values up, our costs low, and operate within the bounds of the CCR's and Bylaws.
The Board will be back to you soon with the timing of a quick community meeting where we need to discuss the needed assessment for the storm cleanup and this quick clarification of the CCR's.
Have a great week!
The HOA Board