Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Living with a HOA

Our patio from the gate
Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
We got a letter from our Home Owner's Association - or rather from Euclid Management, saying that if we didn't remove "debris" from our patio we would be fined because it lowered home values.

We went out and looked for debris, which according to the dictionary is broken construction waste, or other unusable waste lying around. We found a few leaves that had fallen since the last time I'd swept, which are very useful! Also a few empty flower pots in full view, broom and rake standing against the wall, and other similar items.

So today (the day the "debris lady" had announced her visit) I swept the leaves into the beds or placed them in the planters, moved the empty flower pots to further back, laid the broom and rake down behind a bush and trimmed a couple of bushes. I even swept the steps and bit of sidewalk outside our gate, so the gardeners wouldn't blow it back in!

But as we were enjoying our coffee in some December sun (waiting for the debris lady) the gardeners came by anyway - and swept the clean steps back into the courtyard - which made me furious after all my hard work. I went to talk with him and almost got asphyxiated from the fumes from the blower. What do we have to do to get them forbidden? Actually I had suggested that to the HOA, but they said it would be too expensive to have them rake and sweep. What really gets me is that they blow the leaves out from the beds where the bushes are, leaving the soil open to evaporation - here in our very dry climate. Then they come around with chemicals to fertilize the plants that would have done beautifully with the mulch they blow away! And of course they have to water more, because there is absolutely no humous in the soil or protective mulch cover!

BTW, the debris lady came by and said it looked good, so we're OK for a while longer. We've been so furious with this place - using chemicals and too much water and leaf blowers, etc. for our HOA fees - that I started looking for a green condo in our area. The closest I found is in Orange, www.depotwalk.com, which looks promising - the company's first LEEDS building project. But when I asked whether we'd be allowed to dry our clothes on a line on the 3rd floor deck, I was told that was expressly forbidden by the HOA rules, and that would be impossible to change! I read somewhere that the reason people don't like clotheslines is that it makes it look like the people who live there can't afford a dryer, so that would lower property values! In my opinion, one of the things I've loved most about some of the places I've lived was the great clotheslines! (These were in Denmark, of course!) Clothes smell so fresh when they've been dried outside in the sun, and if the wind is blowing they almost iron themselves! A clothesline is a priviledge!

1 comment:

bonbayel said...

Comment to Leaf Blowers.
I was annoyed one day at our Hawaiian hotel that the leaf blowers were out, but then I watched them. They were carefully blowing leaves from the sidewalks and lawn into the flower beds, trying to get them in behind where they weren't so visible. If you have to use leaf blowers, then that is the way to go - at least you are reusing perfectly good organic material for mulch!