5 thoughts on “Lake Monticello Sued for $7.1M”

  1. great. does this mean my assoc. dues are going to go up from $500/yr. to $50,000/yr. to pay off these rubes? hey, you got what you paid for for 23 years. why not sell your property and get a KOA membership?

    i know the LMOA board is crooked as a san francisco street, but $7.1 mil over a campground is ridiculous.

    an no, it’s not that nice.

  2. As someone who has served on the board of a home owner’s association, I have a certain amount of empathy with the defendant. Most communities are operated by less than 10% of the home owners who volunteer their time and attempt to make fair decisions about common funds. Years go by with no decisions of consequence, but when something significant must be done people come out of the woodwork to scrutinize the board. Those who come late to the discussion generally assume that the board is corrupt and self serving.

    The plaintiff sounds like one of the 90% to me.

  3. The piece of important information that I did not find in the Daily Progress article on this subject was:

    What does the LMOA intend to do with the property that was formerly the campground?

    I don’t have that answer, but I would like to know. Having that information might provide a different context/perspective on the situation. Are they planning on replacing it with some other sort of amenity for LMOA members (and associate members now)? Or are they going to sell it to be developed into privately held commercial or residential property? I would be in favor of the first, but not the 2nd.

    From the article:

    “They have no right to close that campground without a 75 percent approval of the Lake Monticello association members,” Patricia Fromal said.

    That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable position to take.

    Duan Gran wrote:

    Most communities are operated by less than 10% of the home owners who volunteer their time and attempt to make fair decisions about common funds.

    Fair point. But from what I read in the Daily Progress article, my impression is that these two members, didn’t feel like they had a fair opportunity to have input into the decision the board made.

    (As an aside; while a legal notice in the classified section of a midweek edition of the local paper may qualify as “fair notice” of public hearing on an issue- it defeats the spirit fair notice).

    They own property, and have since 1972 (that’s a long time and a lot of changes inbetween), but live in Hampton. In situations like that I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect someone to be able to volunteer time to sit on the board. So I’m going to draw a distinction between people who own property but don’t live at the lake, and people who own property but do live at the lake. If they did live at the lake but didn’t participate- I’d agree with you, no excuse to complain- you didn’t participate.

    And then another issue (and at this point it’s only a hypothetical because I don’t know one way or the other, but for the sake of discussion figured it’s worth bringing up)- if they own property, but it’s not developed. In that situation they would’ve been paying fees for services they don’t use (their share for electric and water hookups not used, etc). So (in that situation) wouldn’t be like they haven’t been good “community” citizens.

    Another aside: I remember a time when “Property Ownership” was a requirement for membership. I do not remember when “Associate Memberships” started to be sold. But I think it was a bad decision to start selling them.

    Okay, that concludes my 2 cents.

  4. Homeowners associations just always suck. I’m shopping for a house on at least a few acres in the County right now and my single biggest criterium is ‘no homeowners association.’

    Stuff like this always happens eventually. I’ve seen lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit involving homeowners associations. People getting imbroiled in stupid situations where leins get put on their property and they lose the land over a $20 debt. Endless bickering over mowing grass or building a fence. Having to beg for permission to paint your front door or build a shed. Living in a place like Lake Monticello, I don’t know how you could ever even feel like you actually own your property.

    I don’t blame most individual board members. I know that many of them are just trying to be helpful volunteers. The problem is the very institution. It’s a type of organization that is a quasi-government, only far more intrusive, controlling and petty and without the checks and balances that we have in ‘real’ government.

    Honestly, I would rather live in a doublewide on a piece of independant farm land than in a $1,000,000 house in Redfields or Lake Monticello. But then I am also a Mark Warner Democrat who generally wants the government out of my personal life.

  5. I am with Jack on HOAs…completely..he’s nailed it. I was so very very happy to get out from under one several years ago. Far better the double-wide or trailer park.

    With regard to the 10% bit: that is precisely the reason they suck. The only people who wind up serving on these boards are people with not enough else to do who enjoy poking their noses in their neighbor’s business. That’s been my experience. The remaining 90% don’t pay attention to essentially trivial matters and know how to “MYOB”.

    Self serving minorities (and I’m not talking ethnic) do not generally make for good government – one can explain much of the problem with our national government this way: captured by a minority of the voting age public because of general apathy.

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