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.
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.