About Shirley Kohl

Super Admin

Volunteers Needed

Chatham Court is run by volunteers from the community. The board, architectural committee, and other volunteers together ensure that our common property and legal obligations are met. In the first two months of 2016, we have welcomed two new volunteers to serve on the board that governs our community.

We are still looking for help with our community phone book for 2016. Residents must opt in to share phone numbers or other contact information with neighbors through this publication. To update this phone book, we must individually contact each of our 64 residents to see that address and name information is still correct, and to obtain explicit permission to publish contact information, or not. We need a volunteer or two help with this task. Please contact Shirley Kohl, board president, at 661-922-3581 by text or voice call, if you can help.

We want to include more residents in our architectural review process. Our architectural committee members receive copies of all applications for changes, to landscape or homes, that will be visible from the street. If a committee member has a question or notices any problem with the plan, the board can be notified. This is helpful in keeping changes in the style of the community. Our philosophy is to oversee this process properly, but without creating barriers to residents’ ability to upgrade their property. Would you like to serve on the architectural committee? No meetings are required. Contact Shirley Koh with questions or to volunteer.

Thank you to all the volunteers, past and present, who have donated their time to oversee their community!

Free Homeowner Energy Saving Workshop, May 2, 2015

Changes 2Can we use yesterday’s tools to meet today’s challenges and expect success tomorrow? No. We can’t.

Let’s start by saving ourselves some money, how about that?

We live in the desert and most of our water is piped in at the best of times. After four years of drought, our growing population requires water conservation. We don’t have to get rid of all our high-water-use landscape, and we don’t have to stop gardening. What we must do is finds ways to save water, here, so we can use more of it, there. It seems likely that water rates will go up in the future and top-tier users will feel quite a pinch in the pocketbook. Los Angeles County Waterworks offers cash for grass to convert lawn to xeriscape. Who knows how long that is going to last?

Cash for Grass

What about some energy savings too?

A free energy-saving workshop will be held locally on May 2, 2015. Find out more from this flyer:

Download (PDF)

While we’re at it, let’s save ourselves some grief by participating in the governance of our own community!

Why should you live in an HOA and pay dues for maintenance of streets, gates…and everything else? On top of that, you’re expected to help run the place, even if that is just by voting once a year. Why should you be subject to unique restrictions that go far beyond what those not living in HOAs face from the city or state?  Why do you live in this gated community, also known as a common interest development or a homeowners association? Did you know what you were in for? If not, its time to get educated, because here you are! Common reasons people choose to live in gated communities like ours vary, but here are three big ones.

  • higher property values, with methods to enforce standards
  • local governance, limited only by higher city and state law
  • privacy that is clearly signaled to passersby by the gates

Not everyone is able to serve on the board, and not everyone has to. But everyone can contribute something to the Chatham Court Community, as a volunteer. We have residents who contribute to a community phone book or sign design for front gates. One resident is helping us create our own inventory system for gate parts, and yet others organize events such as the upcoming garage sale.

Online polling


What can you contribute? Your perspective for one thing, especially when it comes time to vote on board members, to speak up about policy changes, or to give input by means of online polls. One of the planned changes for 2015 is to institute regular polling of residents. We are run by volunteers and online polls will conserve valuable volunteer time and energy. Progress is limited by resources, especially donated time. We are all busy–even those who do not serve as volunteers for the community–so we will design the polls to be easy and quick for residents who contribute by sharing their opinions.

Why wouldn’t every single resident contribute to our upcoming polls? You tell me. Get ready. Polls will start in late 2015.

CC&Rs and Governing Documents

Some new residents have said that reading our governing documents is not user-friendly. In 2015 we plan a rewrite so that new homeowners can get further than three pages in before they give up and do something else. How many people have read the governing documents, and I mean, every word of them? I thought so.

Quarterly Gate Maintenance

Fixing problems before they get out of hand is much better than putting out fires. To this end, in October we will begin quarterly gate maintenance. Belts will be replaced when they are worn out. We won’t wait for them to break and create a hassle for busy Chatham residents, who cannot get in or out until a repairman manages to stop by, or someone dismantles the gate arms. Isn’t that ridiculous? Yeah. Gate function should meet a zero failure standard by the end of 2015.

Service, not just enforcement!

The board is responsible to fine, lien and foreclose when residents in our HOA choose not to pay dues, maintain property, or otherwise refuse to live by community rules. We are currently working to find a legal firm with experience in HOA liens and foreclosure: judicial and non-judicial; for unpaid dues, and for unpaid fines. HOA residents who object to the restrictions and governance that is a core reason for existence of this type of community exist. Those who object to the point of permanent noncompliance must experience the consequences, and it has to be done right. Fly by night, unlicensed, shady debt collectors, as Chatham has used in the past, are gone. Qualified legal experts will replace them.

Code enforcement

Enforcement is a duty to the community. Is it not unbalanced, though, if enforcement is all the board does? In the same way, isn’t it unbalanced if all a resident does is complain, instead of helping improve things? Oh, yes. No one likes dictators, and no one likes whiners. I’m just sayin’.


Services provided to the community by board and fellow residents include: Christmas decorations (resident); a new phone book (board/resident collaboration); sign design for a speed limit and warning sign on the gates (resident); advertising for resident businesses in the phone book; and resident recommendations of licensed contractors or businesses that serve our needs in the new message center.

And much more is planned!


Anticipating Opportunity – Welcome to 2015!

As we each welcome the new year–no doubt with great anticipation of the opportunities that will come our way–let us not forget to also welcome new Chatham Court residents. How can we know who they are? I’m glad you asked.2015 Changes

New Phone Book

Residents of Chatham Court will soon receive a new phone book that can help us connect with each other more easily. We are not a collection of strangers, here in Chatham Court. We are neighbors who, together, pay for maintenance of our common property as well as maintaining our individual homes. Together, we pay for the utilities and services necessary to keep our community usable. We also contribute to a reserve fund that covers major repairs in case of emergency. Our dues also pay for an insurance policy, required by law for common property associations to avoid liability.

Phone number and contact information in our new community phone book will be published on an opt in basis. This means that unless residents actively agree to include their phone number in the phone book, only their name and address will be published. Chatham Court will spend $1.50 to print each phone book. Please thank Robin Green and Micheal Mitsch for donating their time and skills in putting the phone book together for us.

Advertisement Submissions by Residents

Residents who wish to advertise their business in the community phone book in the future should email chathamcourtav@gmail.com and leave contact information. A board member will contact you and speak with you further about your submission. This service to residents is provided free of charge. Submissions for the 2015 issue of the phone book are closed, but the current plan is to publish an updated phone book each year.

If you are a resident wishing to opt in with phone numbers, change contact information, submit advertising material, or make any other changes to our community phone book for 2016, please email chathamcourtav@gmail.com. You may also text or call 661-992-3581 so you can find out more about how to proceed.

New Landscape Rules, New Property Manager, New School Year

Back to schoolChange is inevitable. It isn’t just the children facing change these days, as a new school year begins, and 2014 draws to a close. Chatham Court has a new Xeriscape policy, new residents, and a new property manager. Our website can be a great source for information on past newsletter, current rules, and good communication for our neighborhood.

With several new rules and government regulations coming our way, notifications are a good way to keep everyone on the same page. As our new property manager, Walter Solo, begins work, residents may receive notification of needed changes in the next few weeks or months.



Community needs are the priority. As Spock said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few–or the one.”

That is true for Chatham Court. Our rules are designed to maintain all of our property values, so that when we each need to sell our house, it will have appreciated, rather than depreciated. Notification of the need to change to comply with a rule is not meant to be unfriendly or demanding. It is meant to keep Chatham Court functioning according to our governing documents.

Any resident may participate in the governance of the community. Opportunities to volunteer time and energy abound. No resident is required to donate time to the work of the community. However, those who do so are responsible to act in the interests of the community as a whole. That is why the rules ought to be enforced, according to the law and our rules.

Communication and enforcement. A warning letter notifies residents when something is out of alignment with the standards set in our governing documents. If an issue is not corrected within thirty days of the warning letter, a hearing letter may be sent to inform residents of the right to explain why an issue cannot reasonably be corrected, or why the correction of a problem will take more than thirty days. If a resident does not make a reasonable case for delay of enforcement of rules, thirty days after a hearing letter a fine letter will inform the resident that a $100 fine is being applied monthly until the problem is corrected.

Worst case scenario. If those measures fail to achieve results, a lien may be placed on a home so it cannot be sold without paying all fines and fees. A resident could even be subjected to foreclosure proceedings, such as in extreme cases where neighbors’ home values are negatively impacted by significant maintenance or landscaping issues. This is the worst case scenario. Chatham Court has never authorized a foreclosure, but it is a possible recourse to safeguard the interests of the community as a whole when a resident refuses to comply with rules in a significant way.

Disliking community rules is not a reasonable argument for not following them, nor is difficulty in paying for needed repairs or required changes an acceptable reason. We are all equally responsible to do our part while maintaining residence here. We all have a legal obligation to invest more of our time and money in maintaining our homes than those who live outside of gated communities. Hospitalization, other emergency situations, and other temporary obstacles may be good reasons to delay enforcing rules, although an indefinite delay is not reasonable even in those circumstances.

Greater enforcement of our rules may be a surprise to long time residents, and every effort is being made to communicate that the way things were is not the way things will necessarily continue. It is extremely important that we all remember we are neighbors. Our purpose in enforcing the rules is not to harass each other or cause hardship when that can be avoided.

Communicate and you will be heard. Anyone who feels they are being treated unjustly or unreasonably should email chathamcourtav@gmail.com, or text 661-992-3581 immediately.



As of August 21, 2014, Chatham’s new Xeriscape policy will go into effect. Comment now!

Many of you may have heard about Governor Brown signing a state wide ban on home owner’s associations enforcing watering requirements for grass, as the state wrestles with drought and chronic water shortages.

The purpose of this legislation is to save water, not necessarily money–at least in the short term. Chatham Court will implement a Xeriscape policy for any home owner wishing to install Xeriscape as an alternative to turf, or grass. Grass uses a lot of water at the best of times, let alone when summers are hot.

Long term, homeowners who install Xeriscape now will save money. In fact, for home owners with green lawns, rebates for removing the grass will help fund your Xeriscaping efforts!

Here is an example of a website promoting turf removal by offering rebates: http://socalwatersmart.com/index.php/qualifyingproducts/turfremoval

And here is a link to the new regulations that are now state law. Enjoy!

Xeric Plants for the Win!

Xeric Plants for the Win!

Civil Code §4735. Low Water-Using Plants.
[Old:Civ. Code §1353.8](a) Notwithstanding any other law, a provision of the governing documents shall be void and unenforceable if it does any of the following:

(1) Prohibits, or includes conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of low water-using plants as a group.

(2) Has the effect of prohibiting or restricting compliance with either of the following:

(A) A water-efficient landscape ordinance adopted or in effect pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 65595 of the Government Code.

(B) Any regulation or restriction on the use of water adopted pursuant to Section 353 or 375 of the Water Code.

(b) This section shall not prohibit an association from applying landscaping rules established in the governing documents, to the extent the rules fully conform with the requirements of subdivision (a).

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Architectural Committee Forming

What is most important to you?
 This summer a Chatham Court architectural committee will begin work on two projects: re-defining a color palette for the neighborhood and creating guidelines for residents interested in xeriscaping.


Didn’t Chatham Court already have a defined color palette? It is true that back when Chatham Court was built, homes were painted according to a specific set of colors, and those colors were based on a color palette for the neighborhood. Yet, what a difference twenty years makes. No one can read the minds of those original builders, and no one should have to. Of course, if anyone has a copy of all the original paint colors, and their names, please bring those to a board member’s attention. That would definitely make the job easier to do.

The original rules did not allow xeriscaping, so why is it allowed now? Since the late ’80s and early ’90s, many laws have changed, invalidating portions of our original rules. Statewide, our water supply has dwindled relative to the need; the right to install xeriscaping features has become the law of the land. We need guidelines for homeowners who are interested in xeriscaping portions of their front landscape, and we need them as soon as possible.

What if I don’t like the changes? The best way to have a voice in shaping the future of our community is to get involved in the discussion, such as by serving on the architectural committee. If you want to get involved in all of this, just ask a board member how.

The first step towards getting somewhere…

Hello to all members of Chatham Court, HOA.

As you can tell, we are leaping ahead as a community by founding a community webpage.

Who am I? I serve on your board as a volunteer in the position of secretary. Imagine me shaking your hand and smiling at you. “Hello, I’m Shirley Kohl. Pleased to meet you!”

Shirley Website Profile PictureWhy set up a website? We’re Chatham Court. We deserve a website.

Keep Up. This website will help you keep up with community news, if you are interested. You might have important perspectives to share with the board, and this will make it easier for you to share those views.Our community website will also provide a convenient location for electronic copies of our CC&Rs, for newsletters, and for other important documents.

Feedback. Contact me, Shirley Kohl, at kohlshirley@gmail.com, and I will do my best to get back to you asap. I would be happy to use pictures and other material from community members, as well.

Heads Up. Not only that, though. If you notice something going wrong, this website should make it easier and quicker for you to let us know about it. The sooner we start working on fixes, the sooner we will get fixes. Just keep in mind that everyone is a volunteer, so our real lives (so to speak) can slow things down.

Finishing Up. I’ll end by quoting JP Morgan, a famous financier. He said, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

That’s what I’m talking about!