July 2015: HOA meeting report…

The public session of the July meeting was quite animated as many homeowners came to show their disapproval for new rules proposed by the board, see below a brief recap of the matters covered.

Architectural Committee issues:
The board was especially intent on “punishing” a new homeowner that is doing major restoration. The homeowners submitted plans & permits but it looks like the fussy, self-appointed architectural dictatorship can never be satisfied.

What is really disturbing is to hear the president of the HMA board herself declaring (and I quote) “well, if he does not comply, we should fine him enough that he will start feeling the pain, how about $100/day?“.

Yes, my fellow homeowners, the mark of a true and just leader, isn’t it?
You would think that the president, of all people should be aware that HMA’s Rules & Regulations contain a precise schedule of fines to be applied for non-compliance! But, no, this board could not care less about the rules, they like to make them up as they go, apparently…

Issues discussed in open forum:
The board was asked by a homeowner (regarding issue above):
“How can the board consider fining a homeowner more than specified in the Rules & Regulations? This is called being “arbitrary and capricious” and may cause the board member (together or severally) to be legally liable.”
Not surprisingly, the board declined to answer.

No-smoking rule:
A rule was proposed (from an anonymous source) to prohibit smoking in the complex, not only in the common areas but also on the patios and balconies. Smoking would be allowed only inside the units “with doors and windows closed”.
Never mind that it would take a change of the CC&Rs to enact such change, who has the authority to tell a homeowner whether they can open or close their windows or doors? That’s ludicrous.

There was a very vocal opposition to the smoking policy being considered. The board still decided to send a survey to homeowners to “test the waters”.

In my personal opinion, some people in this complex should seriously consider moving to Leisure World to have their lives being entirely managed by a bunch of politically correct ninnies, but that’s just me, I still have the hope to live in a free country, one day…

Replacing floors in upstairs units:
A proposal was made to mandate the upstairs units to use a sound-deadening layer when installing wood or tile flooring. It was noted that there is no real tried and true solution for this and that in some cases installing heavy tiles does a better job at sound insulation than carpeting and padding.

Note that HMA does not have jurisdiction on the interior of the units and could not enforce this rule as no Architectural Request is necessary to redo floors.
On another hand, since HMA is responsible for maintenance of the building structure, it is legitimate to ask whether HMA might be responsible for fixing the sub-floors whose design is responsible for noise transmission.

New committee (Savings & Revenue Enhancement):
For about 3 months now, two homeowners have volunteered to start a “Savings & Revenue Generation Committee” and the board keeps pushing back the creation of this committee, arguing “that there are not enough people in it”. Are they aware that NO COMMITTEE currently has more than 2 members? Or are they trying to prevent some homeowners willing to serve on committees for personal reasons?

Outcome of the mobilization against re-zoning of our area:
The subject was brought up but quickly shut down by the president who declared “this has been handled”. The majority of board members of most of the surrounding HOAs in the area were present when the City Council debated the issue on July 6th. The HMA president and board members were however strangely absent, with the exception of one, who did not even speak!
A homeowner declared “being disappointed by the lack of action from this board in this important matter”. Nothing new, alas…

See links below if you want to learn more about the issue.
Statement from the “Protect Sunset Beach” web site
OC Register article about the City Council meeting
Statement from the City Council

Other issues discussed during meeting:

Chimney caps Rusting:
Chimney caps are rusting and some of them need replacement. A very expensive quote ($2,800 per unit) was provided to the board by a contractor. This would cost a total of $252,000 and is outrageously expensive by any standard.
Maybe the board should carefully choose contractors for quotes and also consider progressive replacement instead of their all to familiar “all or nothing” method.

Sheppard hooks:
A fairly long and fruitless discussion occurred about adding sheppard hooks horizontally above the seawall separation between HMA and Piedmont. This will prevent access by the low level rail separating the complexes. What is a straightforward solution had to be debated (and finally tabled) because of a “not invented here” attitude by the board. Meanwhile, criminals can fairly easily access the HMA complex when they feel like it. And they know where the cameras are and how to avoid them…

Pier Lease:
Our pier lease is valid until 2020 and conditions will not change until then but we have received notice that lease rules may be changing and that the lease could be up to $22,000/year from 2020 on.
Maybe time to start calling your congressman about this…

Water shut-off valves:
All upstairs units are now equipped with water shut-off valves that can be individually operated from the trashcan enclosures. The same is needed for downstairs units. A massive leak, even downstairs, could cause significant structural damage to the buildings.

Callbox light:
Despite the crew’s effort to add LED lighting to the callbox at the entrance gate, the display is still hard to see, mainly due to its age and wear. Replacement of the entire callbox should be considered but issue was tabled.

Deadbolt on entrance gate:
There was a proposal to install a deadbolt at the entrance gate to “keep bad guys in” after they enter. But safety regulations require that someone without a key be able to exit the complex. Issue tabled.

Seawall inspection:
After a contractor was a no-show, the board contacted another contractor to provide a quote for seawall inspection.

Exterior painting:
The crew has started repainting some walls because the color has changed into an unpleasant shade of green.

Oil stains on driveways:
After a fairly muddled debate on what to do, it “looks like” HMA will clean existing stains to “clear the slate” then start billing for cleaning afterwards (as long as visitors and contractors vehicles stay off the private driveways).

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