... From: Scott Varner Subject: Water – Conservation – HOAs - Law To: Evelyn Sardina Date: Thursday,Message 1 of 1 , Mar 19, 2009View Source
--- On Thu, 3/19/09, Scott Varner <scott@...> wrote:
From: Scott Varner <scott@...>
Subject: Water – Conservation – HOAs - Law
To: "Evelyn Sardina" <evelynsardina@...>
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2009, 12:19 PM
Hello – A large percentage of US homeowners now live under the rule of a Homeowner Association. While some may manage effectively, many do not. My personal experience with HOA governance as it relates to water conservation is highlighted in the brief 3/18/09 Albuquerque Journal article below.
The Xeriscape Council is collecting data to try to determine to what extent HOAs across the country discourage or hinder water conservation efforts outdoors. I know that many still try to mandate high water use grass and require placing it curbside where it is never used as a lawn – only as a sponge. This continues even though most new research shows that good landscaping or xeriscaping is a more important factor than sod re home values! (In normal times, of course.)
Would you please contact me with any examples of HOA actions that hinder or prevent water conservation or forward this request and article to anyone you think may be interested or live in an HOA. This information will be a great help as the Council works to develop a strategy to try to deal with this issue nationwide.
Please refer this request to as many interested people as you can.
Thank you for your help.Abq Journal
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Towne Park HOA Ordered To Pay $14,000
By Sean Olson
Journal Staff Writer
Scott Varner has won another round with the Towne Park Homeowners Association over water conservation.
The association has been ordered to pay the Towne Park resident nearly $14,000 for forcing him and others to pay for watering their neighbor's front yards. Varner and about 130 homeowners have replaced their yards with xeriscaping and aren't connected to the water system.
"I've been paying to maintain their grass," Varner said Tuesday, referring to the homeowners association board.
Varner has been an outspoken critic against the homeowner's association and an advocate for xeriscaping. In 1997, the homeowners association sued a woman for xeriscaping her front yard. With Varner's help, she countersued, and a settlement was reached that allowed her to keep the xeriscaping.
Towne Parke board president Glen Witt and the association's attorney did not return Journal messages Tuesday.
Arbitrator Timothy M. Sheehan wrote in his decision that Towne Park was "effectively restricting" water conservation efforts like installing xeriscaping in place of a lawn by charging a homeowner twice. Homeowners who use xeriscaping are required to disconnect from the Towne Park common irrigation system and pay their own water costs. They were also charged for the maintenance of the common irrigation system, Varner said.
Sheehan ordered Towne Park to repay Varner $84 for the last year he had to pay for maintenance. The association also has to pay for attorney fees and other costs associated with the arbitration, a cost of more than $13,000.
Hess Yntema, Varner's attorney, said the decision was only binding to Varner, but it would be "prudent and fair" for the association to stop charging other residents who xeriscape for water costs.
Xeriscape Council of NM, Inc.
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