Can 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?
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:
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.
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.
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!