Letter to the Editor: DarbyBrook

First of all, I am appalled at the blatant display of dishonesty which occurred last night at the town council meeting involving the discussion of the HOA dissolution. The mayor, town council and town manager & planner were all aware that 67% of the voting eligible homeowners in Darbybrook voted to dissolve the HOA on Oct. 8, 2010. Ever since this time the board of directors has worked futilely to directly ask the town to accept its common areas. These efforts were futile due to the lack of cooperation with the town.

Clarke Daily News - Opinion & Editorial

It was also pointed out that the town manager’s request for Darbybrook’s disclosure packet was declined. CONVENIENTLY, the fact that Darbrybook’s request to the town manager as to why this was needed went unheeded. In the interim time period to finalize the majority vote for dissolution, information was requested from the town in regards to the oversight process in allowing the HOA to be set up to begin with. CONVENIENTLY, the additional Book & Pages of Darbybrook’s HOA document displayed on the agenda link for the town leaves out the Land exhibit pages which declare lots to be part of the HOA-facing First Street and adjacent to these to no longer be and never were to begin with part of the HOA. This fact as well as others have the potential to create unnecessary legal actions against the HOA. Why should the citizens of Darbybrook be forced to explain that the homes which appear area to be part of an HOA isn’t due to no fault of theirs, yet when one tries to get to the bottom of such errors, “oh well that’s too bad ” should suffice as an explanation or “no comment”?

The board of directors gave several other reasons that dissolution was voted on by the homeowners and the least of these were maintenance of the common areas. When the town council was first approached about the HOA dissolution, an explanation was given that due to the short sale/ foreclosures in the neighborhood, the HOA’s assets were quickly dissipating due to the legal process involved in trying to collect unpaid dues. In a struggling economy, it seemed an abhorrent idea to raise the HOA dues when dissolution could alleviate the hardship being presented as well as the discrepancies over which properties were indeed part of the HOA.

It was also brought to the town’s attention previously that the other two subdivisions somewhat comparable to Darbybrook (Hermitage & Battlefield Estates do not have HOA’s and function well without) so it was the desire of Darbybrook’s citizens to be HOA free as well. Another point is that Hermitage’s Deed of Dedication was signed off by a Clarke County official though Darbybrook’s wasn’t. Will the town explain why that is? I’m not holding my breath for answers.

I am not a constitutional lawyer, but it seems to me there was some mention in regards to a government cannot subject its citizens to adhere to something which they are unwilling to themselves and none of Berryville’s elected officials live in a subdivision with an HOA. I will be attending a constitution reading in September and will pay particular attention to that specific clause. Because as the mayor mentioned that “why should the other citizens of Berryville be burdened with the expense of maintenance of Darbybrook’s common areas, citizens of Darbybrook wonder when a water main breaks somewhere else in town , as in near Battlefield Estates, which is the most recent example, why should the citizens of Darbybrook have to bear this expense. The answer is;”We are all in this together”. We can care about what happens to everyone or we can pursue our own self interests.

People wonder about voter apathy. I believe the mystery is solved. If you can’t exercise your rights to due process in a governmental system which acts more like a dictatorship then why waste your valuable time becoming aware of issues and informed about candidates’ positions particularly since you will need a second job to pay exorbitant and unnecessary HOA fees unless of course you have the hope to band together to vote out the elected officials who couldn’t help its citizens when they needed them too.

That is my plan.

I don’t know if the town of Berryville has a motto but after attending last night’s meeting especially and others; I think -”If we don’t like what you have to say, we’ll perform a dramatic display.” would be very fitting.

Robin Betz

Comments

  1. The Shocker says:

    The town already has a very nice, centralized, convenient park that all citizens can use. I see no reason for the citizens of Berryville to pay for something that we A. already have B. will most likely never use due to its proximity from the mass of the population and C. never had a chance to vote on, approve or discuss.

    I’m sorry the residents of Darbybrook are unhappy, but no one forced you to purchase a house with a HOA. Dissolved or not…..

  2. Bob Stewart says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The folks in Darbybrook bought houses in a neighborhood that has an HOA which would make sure that their neighborhood stayed uniform and didn’t become heterogeneous like the rest of Berryville. That HOA became too expensive for them. Now the taxpayers need to take over for these people who didn’t want their neighborhood to look like the rest of Berryville? Is that about right?

    • mike Vaughan says:

      No, you have it wrong, the hoa had nothing to with the decision to purchase of my home. In fact I would have rather not had a hoa as they tend to be full of people with to much time on their hands. And the 29 dollar per month fee wasnt something I couldnt afford. The issue was the money in the kitty was going to legal fees of all the foreclosed homes and not to its intended use. Your sarcastic views just express your ignorance regarding the overall situation.

  3. Spongebob says:

    I for one do not want my tax dollars to take care of a park that my kids would never use. Maybe if the Darbybrook homeowners spent less money on throwing parties filled with alcohol (and spent less time posting their business on Facebook full of pictures of parties and lots of alcohol) maybe they can afford their own HOA fees. Darbybrook mothers seem to enjoy partying at each other’s houses. Their “welcome to the neighborhood! Let’s get together and drink” welcome wagon needs to stop.

    Mayor Kirby, Keith Dalton,etc….please be sure NOT to pass the dissolvement of their HOA-their problem, not the towns!

    • Krystin Ryder says:

      What does a “welcome to the neighborhood” party have to do with the HOA Spongebob? Your ignorant comment only explains to the rest of us why your invitation was LOST IN THE MAIL!

  4. BlossomButt says:

    To Spongebob, please refrain from lumping all Darbybrook homeowners together when you speak of “parties filled with alcohol”. I am a parent, homeowner and resident in Darbybrook and have never had a neighborhood party, nor was I part of a “welcome to the neighborhood” party when I moved there. I had/have no problem with paying the HOA fees, never did. It was the HOA board that felt it was too expensive to continue, not the residents. It was the HOA board that spent a ridiculous amount of money trying to collect dues from those that were delinquent, money thrown away that would have been better spent elsewhere. The residents voted to disolve the HOA, not because we didnt want to be bound by it anymore, but because the HOA was not doing what it should to take care of the neighborhood and making very poor decisions when spending money. Given the small number of houses in this neighborhood (less than 75), who in their right mind would spend $20,000 to collect past due fees? How many homes were that far behind? Was it really cost effective to spend $20,000 and still not get the past due fees? These are the questions that the residents of Darbybrook are faced with and the problems we have. I didn’t ask Berryville to take over my subdivision, the HOA did, and we residents were simply between a rock and a hard place. So please, dont assume that the residents are the evil here, and definetely dont lump all of us “mothers” together simply because a chosen few show bad judgement.

    • The bottom line is the HOA Board members and yourself signed up and moved into a subdivision with a HOA. Sorry if homes in your subdivision are being foreclosed not the problem of Battlefield Estates nor the Hermitage homeowners problems.

      Some of us were smart enough to move into a subdivision without a HOA. HA sorry for your bad luck.

      The members of your HOA Board and yourself signed on the dotted line for an HOA and paying HOA dues in your contract with your mortgage co and realtor, do not try to place blame on foreclosures.

      Sorry the reality of the situation has hit all citiizens of Darbybrook square in the face.

      Live with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Clarkecitizen says:

    I am taken aback by this editorial and the presumption that the town of Berryville should take over the maintenance of the playground and roads in Darbybrook because the HOA was dissolved.
    I live in the rural part of Clarke County. When we bought our house, on a gravel private lane, we understood that we would be responsible along with our fellow neighbors to maintain our gravel lane with snow removal, maintenance of putting down gravel and having it graded and any other necessary work needed. That is just one of the expenses of living in the country.
    And when you buy a home with a HOA, you agree to the terms of that HOA. The local government is not “subjecting you” to agree to those terms in order to buy the home. It is your decision where and what to buy.
    If the HOA had management problems, maybe another organization of Darbybrook neighbors should be formed to deal with the maintenance issues, instead of burdening the Town with additional expenses that they did not facilitate or agree upon.

  6. Neither Battlefield Estates nor the Hermitage has a coommon area that requires maintenance. The reason an HOA was set up was to maintain the common area in Darbybrook. If they don’t want to be in an HOA anymore, then they should give up their common area to be either developed or neglected.

  7. Actually both developments you mentioned do have common areas that require maintenance but the developers worked with the town to develop alternative strategies for the maintenance of the areas. HOAs were anathema and both of those developers opted out. Darbybrook, and the I believe the development out by Berryville Graphics, have HOAs. They seem to be something that should be avoided in Clarke County as there are other ways to deal with common area maintenance without having the invasive tentacles of an HOA in ones life.

  8. Spongebob (a great name to hide behind), while I can appreciate your opinion on where you would like your tax dollars spent, your critical comments towards the “homeowners” and “mothers” of Darbybrook are both careless and inappropriate. You should think about how your slanderous statements can affect people. If you really knew the people you are writing about you would not be making those statements. Your comments have nothing to do with any HOA business!

  9. Eugene Krabbs says:

    This is one of the more humorous topics that i have read ever…ever. We are debating over a small playground. If the town’s leadership chooses that they don’t want to maintain it fine….the funding left in the HOA can pay to remove it. The HOA fee in and of itself was a joke. It was not significant. The more tragic thing is the overall lack of development in this community and the stagnant growth that it has. Don’t let another small business on main street fool you people. The real estate values themselves in this community are quite horrible and show no signs of improvements. I am actually waiting for the taxes themselves to be raised to pay for the lack of business attraction.

    Oh and woohoo…we had a Wendy’s commercial filmed here. Too bad one will never be built. Lucky we have a food lion.

    As for Spongebob…

    I am glad that you support impeding upon people’s basic rights as a citizen of the US. I am also glad that you are able to lurk on Facebook and enjoy the internet. Did you know that the internet is used for spreading of propaganda while being anonymous? Well of course you do.

    Now…back to the kitchen and lets get those Krabby Patties out….or remove a play ground.

    “Money Money Money”

    Krabbs

  10. Sandy Cheeks says:

    AMEN Mr. Krabbs! The townspeople need to understand the facts. It’s never been about the residents of Darbybrook not wanting to pay the dues. It’s that, other than the common area maintenance and snow plowing, the funds are wasted. Obviously, if we can afford to drink and party all the time (with lots of alcohol) then we can afford our dues.
    Also, I’m wondering…. Do the people of Berryville realize that the residents of Darbybrook pay town taxes as well??? So, while we are contributing to the maintenance of “your” park and plowing of “your” streets, I see no reason ours can’t be taken care of as well.

    • I just read [redacted] that “Three signs too modern for in front of the quaint North Church Street courthouse complex in Berryville.” When less than 50 yards down Liberty Street an OLD house is falling down and the town can’t do a darn thing about it. As I have mentioned it to the town several times. That’s not the only house falling down in Berryville, does the town managers ever take a drive around their fine quaint town? Berryville can’t stand in the dark ages forever. I’ve paid every HOA fee since I’ve lived in Darbybrook six years in December, and I didn’t have a say in the disolving of the HOA. I have pride in my home. I pay all my taxes. If the town counsel or managers would allow some other business in the area maybe there would be money to mow a very small play ground (that others use more frequently than the Darbybrook folks) or plow a few extra streets. What a horror for quaint Berryville to have to add a few more streets to plow to their route, and maybe paying their city workers a few additional bucks. The folks who live in Darbybrook are hardworking people and do not need to be cast aside or insulted.

    • BoB the builder says:

      “So, while we are contributing to the maintenance of “your” park and plowing of “your” streets, I see no reason ours can’t be taken care of as well.”

      Well Ms Cheeks, the difference is that the great people of Darbybrook ALSO use the streets of Berryville. That’s why you pay taxes to plow “our” streets. Where “we” don’t use “your” park or streets.

  11. Naked Truth says:

    I bet that when this little playground was in the planning stage, the people of Darbybrook were concerned that the “others” may want to use it as well. It’s funny how things work out. Now they are asking the “others” to maintain the playground.

    Instaed of disolving the HOA can’t you replace the directors? Put new people in place and leave us out. Which was fine with Darby earlier.

  12. Warrant in debt says:

    As a past president of a Homeowners type group I am curious as to why it cost $20,000 to collect debts owed to an association. A warrant -in-debt court order can be obtained by going to the General Distric Court, show the appropriate ageements, swear to the amount of debt and have the court issue the warrant. This can be done by an officer or representative of the HOA. It cost just some time and some filing fees, recoverable as part of the warrant…Did a lawyer talk you into filing expensive suits?

    And no, Berryville citizens should not take on the dysfunctional byproducts of poorly run HOAs.

  13. where exactly is this Darbybrook neighborhood anyway?

  14. The community comments on this blog are simply ridiculous. My family and I made the choice to live in Berryville because of the sense of “community” and “togetherness” that a small town has to offer. As a 6 year resident of Darbybrook, I am very disappointed in the derogatory comments that have been posted. Darbybrook is a wonderful community that my family and I are proud to be a part of. We have some of the best neighbors and friends imaginable. This neighborhood community is a community who looks out for one another, knows their neighbors and treats each other’s children the same as their own. The HOA is a problem, however it is not simply about a playground- it is also about a drainage pond that the county does not maintain. A drainage pond that a future adjacent neighborhood is planned to drain into. A drainage pond that the Darbybrook community has maintained for the past 6 years because the builder, Brookfield Homes did not do their job and the county turned their head at the incompetence of the builder. Yes, homeowners agreed to an HOA- but we also agreed, along with the county for certain things to be taken care of by the builder. Why is it okay for the builder to walk away, the county to walk away and the homeowners to be given the leftovers? Again, my family and I love our Darbybrook community; we love our neighbors who have become our family. What we don’t love is all the hateful comments being made about our dear friends, our wonderful neighbors, our own families. It is a complete contradiction of what a small town claims to represent. Those who made the negative remarks should be embarrassed- what kind of example are you setting?

    • If Brookfield did indeed walk away from their responsibilities, then the town/county should be pursuing them.

      • BlossomButt says:

        Why would they pursue it? They can let them run away, leave the homeowners hanging with the responsibility, and then the town can refuse to take over the management. Its a typical Clarke/Berryville move that shows what they really think of their residents. They collect taxes, but then they have no other use for us.

  15. Welcome to Berryville TJ!

  16. Better check the language in your HOA documentation re: the builder. Chances are the homeowners believe one thing about what Brookfield was supposed to have been on the hook for, while in fact it might be someting entirely different.

    Generally, once a certain % of developable units is constructed maintenance and liability transfers to the HOA. In most cases an audit is required so that the members and their elected board can establish appropriate assessment levels for long term funding. Storm water management ponds are expensive to fund – this is certainly one reason why there’s a push to dissolve the HOA in the hopes that the Town or County will take over maintenance. Unfortunately, you’re pushing rope on that aspect.

    Seems like a failure on the part of the HOA board if they didn’t feel that a $20,000 legal expense was worthy of a membership vote – unless the same 67% who voted for dissolution also favored the expense.

    Pretty much zero chance that the stormwater pond monkey can be transfered to someone else’s back. Better to restructure the HOA and get rid of the board (or hire a management company to be the board). That way at least you’ve got the ability to file liens if needed and collect assessments from everyone.

  17. Mr Mister says:

    So if the town agrees to maintain Darbybrook, does that mean I need a reservation to the playground or can I just show up?

  18. Is Darbybrook part of the Town of Berryville? Do they pay Town taxes? This would help us “outsiders” get a better handle on this issue. Town residents (including Battlefield Estates and Hermitage) pay town taxes, which cover things like road maintenance, stormwater pond maintenance, and trash removal. If Darbybrook isn’t part of the Town, then they need to be annexed by the Town in order to have maintenance done on their playground and stormwater pond.

  19. Yes, Darbybrook is part of the Town of Berryville and yes, the residence pay Town Taxes-

  20. Losing Faith says:

    I live in Darbybrook with my children in what I thought at the time was a small town of individuals that had a great sense of community. Yes, the Darbybrook HOA was dissolved. Yes, I understand why some do not feel the need to take on the care of the drainage pond, and a microscopic playground. Yes, I see why people would be aghast at what they deem is a waste of fund , just about as upset they were when the still brightly red coloured fire hydrants were painted again. It took longer to have one fire hydrant repainted then it would take to have someone mow that park area, and I am positive it cost more. How do I know, I’ve mowed it.
    The people of Darbybrook are part of the town without a doubt, they help with the fundraisers the churches, schools, and community sponsor, they also pay their taxes, water and other town bills as others in the town do. Are there not local businesses that the people of Darbybrook frequent that aid to the prosperity of the town? Would not having all of the town having a positive living environment once that pulls together be in the best interest in order to gain new neighbors to live in all the For Sale Homes that are plentiful in Clarke County?
    Perchance there may by a time when people of Berryville will once again become more concerned with helping and aiding the community as a whole then they are with just their little parcel of it. I guess not, at least not with the town’s current outlook of “None for you, but more for me.”

    • OK, so you purchased a home knowing full well what the financial obligations are/were for the HOA, then you decide that it’s too much to pay, and now everyone who lives in Berryville should chip in to cover you and your fellow HOA member’s financial obligations?

      This isn’t an issue of people not helping or aiding a community as a whole vs. their little parcel of it. It’s an issue of your HOA essentially wanting to default and pass along the obligation to others – the community as a whole being forced to aid your little parcel of it!

      Read your HOA disclosure packet – you knew when you purchased your home what additional financial obligation you would have. You can’t just say “I don’t want to anymore”. Yeesh.

      • Did you read ALL of my letter to the editor? The HOA the residents signed onto contains false documents. Have you read the HOA documents? Dissolution is an option. Is it Darbybrook’s fault that many of it’s homeowners have defaulted on their mortgages and so the rest of the neighborhood has to pay for this. I hope this clarifies information for you.

        • Is it the Town’s/taxpayers of Berryville burden to carry the Darbybrooks HOA problems, don’t think so.

          Live with it!!!!, you signed it!, This is just merely the way world should go back to, inside of holding everyone else responsible for someone else’s errors.

  21. Roscoe Evans says:

    I just bought an investment property, and discovered during the mortgage drill that HOA issues are among the current hot button items on bank check lists. What once were considered popular amenities now are deemed to be costly encumbrances. Here, we see why that has occurred.

    This discussion seems to have become just another exercise in which the wrong kind of energy — heat instead of light — has been brought to bear on the issue.

    How about the Darbybrook residents getting together, and try to remedy their legal issues by taking a creative legal approach? Pool their resources, and hire a l-a-w-y-e-r to give them legal advice on how to address their legal problems? Then, they can follow that advice, and resolve their problems.

    I can pretty much guarantee this would be a more productive approach than huffing and puffing about “constitutional issues,” and going all tri-cornered hat, Tea Party, Don’t Tread on Us, we’ve got our taxpayer rights to be Berryvillians over some unmowed grass and a kiddie park.

    Alternatively, just pave over everything.

    • If you had read the town council meeting minutes you would know we had a lawyer. It is my understanding the town required the builder to set up an HOA so the town should have been aware that the homeowners could possibly exercise their legal right to dissolve but never considered that possibility. Because a lawyer did direct the HOA to ask the town to take over the common areas because they are usual and customary areas for towns to maintain and it is what is directed according to VA state code. I am not a Tea Party person. I am an American citizen who wants to trust in and believe that our government is here to uphold our rights as citizens . Is that the purpose of the government ? Is that what the Constitution ensures? What I really have a problem with is that “mistakes” were made in the HOA’s creation and would like to have them resolved as amicably as possible.
      It seems to me most of the negative comments indicate that the town should never be accountable for it’s actions especially when they have harmed it’s citizens who pay their salaries through our tax payments.

      • I don’t even live there, but I think I will load up the kids tomorrow and head on down and let them play on this Golden Playground….. Spoiled people crack me up…. You will pay who knows what for those huge houses and have your brand new cars setting in your driveways, but yet cannot pay your HOA dues…. Typical…..

      • The Town, as with any municipality, is I’m sure fully aware that an HOA has the right to dissolve their organization. That’s elementary – upon formation of the HOA (builder I’m sure functioned as the HOA until a specific # of units were completed), the covenants associated with the association were filed with the town and each property owner would have received a copy as a legal requirement for their closing on their loan.

        Problem is, you and others ASSUMED that with a dissolution of the association that your financial obligations for maintenance of common area would automatically transfer to the Town.

        This isn’t an issue of the Town being unaccountable for anything – that HOA agreement was a contract between the property owners and a.) the developer and then b.) the Town. Unless it states explicity that upon dissolution the maintenance automatically transfers to the Town (and is signed and notarized as such by the Town), then you’ve not a leg to stand on.

        Usual and customary? Please – your attorney very well knows that unless there is a defined link between those common areas and other municipal properties (most commonly bike or walking paths) it’s extremely unlikely for the Town to accept those add’l financial/maintenance obligations. And VA state code doesn’t direct any municipality to do anything beyond what is contractually obligated in a situation like this. Same attorney who spent all that cash on collecting money from absentee owners? Which property owner is related to that legal eagle?

        Since so much $ has been spent to collect dead-beat assessments, yet none has been brought to bear legally vs. Brookfield or the Town, it sounds like you already have been advised that there’s no exposure to the Town on this issue. But, you keep yelling it’s so and maybe it will be…

        Go ahead and scan/ post that clause in your HOA docs that says the Town takes over that obligation – we’d love to see it. The Town didn’t create your HOA – that was between you and your homebuilder. Your naivety or lack of oversight some years ago is not an excuse… to coin a phrase – lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

      • I don’t think your rights as citizens are being encroached, your rights as a consumer-maybe.
        Sounds to me like DarbyBrook is having collective buyers remorse. ‘Gee honey what a mess this HOA nonsense is – I thought an HOA was supposed to make suburban living hassel free, right?’ You’re all angry with the City because the City taking over would be the easiest resolution to the mess you all got yourselves into, but that doesn’t mean the City is at fault or should pay up.

      • thebold truth says:

        R Betz– maybe you should start a comunity service project within your development and have your kids do some more community service to take care of this common ground. Serves a double win/purpose !! ???

  22. been here a long time says:

    One thing I haven’t noticed being talked about, if the town takes over the playground are they then responsible if someone gets hurt on it? As a long time resident, I don’t want to add that particular problem to the town. That is what the HOA was for, now it is time for the Darbybrook residents to stand up and handle their own problems. Form a new organization that will serve you well.

  23. What a joy to live in a community that believes dishonesty is a virtue to be protected. So it’s survival of the fittest (or if you have the money & power) here in Berryville?The best deceiver wins! Not in my book or what I believe to be the best and holiest book of all – the Bible. There is a universiality to not wanting to be deceived I thought, I guess I was wrong . I know believers are like sheep among wolves so I guess I’m to be eaten through criticism for trying to stand against injustice. Sounds like the title of a movie, “Silence of the Lambs” I will be now because I have learned my lesson. Don’t speak out against dishonesty and deception or negligence or incompetence or whatever else caused the Darbybrook HOA to become dysfuntional, no one cares.
    A final thought from Edmund Burke, ” All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I want to stand before God one day and hear “well done good and faithful servent.” I know I will !

    • You’ve made accusations with no supporting facts – if you could prove that either the builder or the Town was somehow responsible for your situation we wouldn’t be reading about it as a disjointed rant… rather, we would be reading about a successful legal action against one of those entities.

      Now you’re playing the pity and pious card? C’mon – it’s an apple growing community, but most people didn’t just fall off the truck.

      You’re being dishonest with yourself.

  24. It Figures says:

    Oh please RBETZ……. Have one of the 100 kids that live there go outside and mow the grass. You paid the money for the house and you knew what you were getting, now honor your part of the deal….As someone said last night, you guys paid all that money for those fancy homes and have your new Caddy’s parked in the driveway, how is paying your HOA fees that you knew you were responsible for, breaking the bank now? You people down there should be the ones that are embarrassed……

    • mike vaughan says:

      Clueless, what do you mean by ” you people”. I have lived here for 6 years and have seen volvos, bmw’s, mercedes, porsche’s a corvette and several acuras. NEVER have I seen a caddy in the driveway. Get your facts straight, this is the land of the Golden Playground why would anyone here stoop so low as to drive a shabby caddy. Sounds like townie envy to me.

  25. Current resident says:

    Yep, Darbybrook residents, since you have such a wonderful and close knit neighborhood, then band together and take turns cutting the grass. If someone gets hurt on the playground, go to the doctor and get fixed, you won’t be able to sue the HOA or the Town. I left living in an HOA community years ago because they were dysfunctional then as they are now. Even more so now because of all the foreclosures. You come across as sounding entitiled (as I commented on another opinion in this “paper”). It’s your neighborhood within this town, take care of it. The rest of us who live in other neighborhoods within the town and don’t have HOAs have done so for years.

  26. I am a Darbybrook homeowner. I’ve been following this thread since yesterday. It saddens me on many levels.

    Just to be upfront, I can pretty safely assume that my household generates less income than anyone else in my community. Just the way the economy’s been, not the fault of anyone in Berryville. I never had any problem paying our rather small HOA fee. I’m sure the cost of the monthly fees were not really prohibitive to anyone. I do think the HOA leadership was looking at the cost of trying to collect fees from delinquent homeowners. Some simply weren’t paying, others were facing foreclosure and it probably wasn’t high on their list of bills. I think the firm that “ran” our HOA was ridiculously expensive and I believe we could have done without them. There must be other means of running an HOA.

    I did feel comforted by the idea of an HOA, mainly the idea that there would be some uniformity and level of responsibility by homeowners to take care of their properties. However, I did vote for dissolution. It simply seemed that we were paying money that wasn’t being spent well. I believe it was presented to us that we would ask the town to take over maintenance of the tiny little park and the drainage pond. I may have been naive, or more likely disinterested, because the drainage pond seemed like a no-brainer to me. Is that really considered part of our “common ground?” Apparently it is. It’s not good for much but walking or biking around. Certainly no one wants to actually go down in there. Some brave neighbors do in order to keep up the maintenance and for that I am grateful.

    It seems I have a lot of fact checking to do before commenting in the most informed way, so really this is just an emotional rant. Many of you above have been doing so, so I’m just joining in! I do believe that the drainage pond is intended to be used by further development, if that should ever happen.

    The comments that hit me emotionally are probably numerous, but here’s the list in my mind right now.
    1) Darbybrook is not simply a “partying” community. Yes, there are some that choose to live their lives that way, play beer pong, post things on Facebook, but that certainly does not represent the majority of us.
    2) The “Golden Playground” really isn’t all that much. In fact, I think the children that use it most are the ones that live beyond the boundaries of Darbybrook. That’s certainly fine with me. We’re not some exclusive, gated community. But, the playground looks clean, brightly colored and fun if you’re a little kid. Let them all play. Our “Golden Playground” certainly looks happier than what they have a few streets over and I’m glad to offer its use to our neighbors.
    3) Not so much emotional, but funny to me. I do not have a Caddy in my driveway. That’s right, I live in Darbybrook and I drive a vehicle that my kids are embarrassed by. Big deal. I’ll probably never own a car of my dreams, but then again, I don’t really have those expectations.
    4) I embrace all of Berryville as my community. “Losing Faith” is correct when stating “The people of Darbybrook are part of the town without a doubt, they help with the fundraisers the churches, schools, and community sponsor, they also pay their taxes, water and other town bills as others in the town do. Are there not local businesses that the people of Darbybrook frequent that aid to the prosperity of the town? Would not having all of the town having a positive living environment once that pulls together be in the best interest in order to gain new neighbors to live in all the For Sale Homes that are plentiful in Clarke County?”

    I personally, with my whole family have walked throughout this entire area of town. Literally. I’ve met people who live outside “Darbybrook” and we are friendly with each other. Why do we do this? Because, though I may not have much, I have something to offer and there is always someone more in need than me. Perhaps we help people by delivering food. Perhaps we learn of other struggles that we can be of assistance with.

    We stay involved in our greater Clarke county community. It is hurtful to read such vitriol from the above comments and think, “Wow, this is what my town thinks of us.” It is truly stunning to live in NoVA all your life, move to small town Berryville and experience such bitter treatment and smart-tail sarcastic comments. The comments on here quickly left the “discussion table” about facts and immediately went for the jugular! Lumping us all together as if we are people who don’t give but want to take from our fellow townspeople.

    I will be looking into this deeper. I do have a responsibility to find out what the status of our HOA “dissolution” is? What this means for us as homeowners? What, if anything, this means to the town? As with many others, I have busied myself with other things for the last year and have not really given this much attention. I can either roll with what is decided for me, or become more informed. I’m leaning toward the latter.

    With as many comments as this one “Letter to the Editor” has received, I might invite Ed Leonard to get his best investigative reporter to do a thorough story on this.

    I will certainly be monitoring this thread and look forward to the time that I can comment further with facts, not just my rants! Looking forward to more peaceful and informative comments.