Town Council Officially Declines Darbybrook Proposal

Playground in Darbybrook - Photo Mike Dowling

The saga of the Darbybrook Home Owners Association (HOA) came to a close last night as the Berryville Town Council voted unanimously to decline the HOA’s request that the Town of Berryville take ownership and maintenance responsibility of the properties held by the HOA. The issue has garnered the attention of the council for the past year as the HOA has attempted to make a case that it is in the Town’s best interest to help the residents of Darbybrook by taking over two pieces of common property in the development; a playground and a storm water retention pond.

The issue languished as letters were exchanged and the HOA retained legal council to represent their request to the town. The slow motion process picked up speed at the meeting last month when the council took the opportunity to make their thoughts on the matter clear. At that meeting, Mayor Wilson Kirby said he did not support the idea, and last night he reiterated his position saying, “The HOA is not something that the Town of Berryville requested them to do. It was not forced upon them, it was placed as a condition on the subdivision by the owners and I see that it has failed simply because there was no enforcement from the HOA. So, it looks like they have given up. I don’t think that’s the right decision.”

He summarized his position on the matter saying, “I’m in favor of getting rid of this agenda item because I don’t think we should undertake the responsibility of managing property that was not intended for us to manage.”

The mayor opened the floor for comments from council members and Councilman Allen Kitselman voiced his position on the matter saying, “I have never heard of an HOA being dissolved, personally. It is a legally binding document that is part of their mortgage and the citizens of the Town of Berryville are being asked to assume the responsibility that they haven’t bargained for. So I’m baffled by this.”

Town Recorder, Jay Arnold said he believed there are other alternatives to resolve the issue that had not been explored.

Councilman David Tollet expressed his position that the residents of the town should not be burdened with this responsibility and said, ” I’m in favor of disposing of it right now.”

Mayor Kirby asked the Council for a motion to decline the request and Councilman Mary Daniel said, “They are in a tough spot, but there are a of people in a lot of HOAs in similar tough spots.” She characterized the HOA’s request as not being a fully formed plan and made the motion to decline the proposal and instruct the Town Manager to inform the legal council for Darbybrook by letter of the Town Council’s decision. Councilman Larry Russell seconded the motion.

The Council voted unanimously to approve the motion.

Comments

  1. Wow, Glad to see that the Town made a good decision on this one! Its nobodies responsibility other than the residents there….. Looking forward to the banter on here by the Darbyfolk…

  2. I agree with the Town Councils. Why should the town (us) of Berryville be responsible for Darbybrooks HOA repairs. Looks to me like Darbybrook HOA dropped the ball someplace and tried to get the Town of Berryville to pick up the pieces. Home Owners Association is just that “Home Owners” not Berryville Residents. The owners of those homes pay into the HOA. They asked for it and/or agreed to the HOA. They should also be responsible for their own back yard so to speak? Cleanup your own mess.

  3. Clarke resident says:

    Homeowners didn’t ask for it- The builder makes that request. Get you facts straight.

  4. You bought the house and you knew there was an HOA! Sorry for you…. Go take your ball somewhere else….

  5. I don’t understand the whole HOA mumbo-jumbo. Can’t the residents vote in a new Board of Directors to the HOA? I’m sure if run properly a new HOA could work. Get rid of the people who failed you and start over.

    • Rice St. Resident says:

      Mr. Mister, you understand perfectly well. An HOA might have a board, but absolutely can the homeowners, at any time, decide to vote in an entirely new set of board members, especially if they feel that the current board isnt taking care of the neighborhoods best interest. I find it VERY interesting that the homeowners would rather just disolve the HOA rather than attempt to fix it. A smooth running and reasonable HOA can actually be a good thing…

      • My guess is that the original board for that HOA didn’t do their due diligence and get an audit of their longterm financial obligations, and subsequently didn’t set their assessment levels high enough. Add to that an incorrect assumption that future development to the north of the stormwater management pond was going to pay for that obligation.

        So, assessment levels were too low (probably driven by homeowners complaining and not being given accurate info on what their reserves were required to fund). Then maybe someone found out what the real costs would be, tried to raise assessment evels and got shot down by the homeowners. All at a time when they were losing contributors via foreclosure, etc.

        Perfect storm. Think of it like a “planned foreclosure”…. “we’re going bankrupt anyway, so why bother to fix things or make an effort”.

  6. good job i agree. two thumbs up! it’s not the towns job to take care of.

    don’t pass the buck on residents who are not part of that community.

    5 years from now when it’s time to address the eye sore , the town can take legal action on the developement. the residents can then address the legal issues of the current HOA members actions and figure out how they are going to pay for the up keep that nobody wants responsiblity of

    the concern is for the residents WHO DID NOT agree to NOT having the HOA any longer. “IF” the vote was taken following the HOA covenants and the vote passed.. then so be it… but what are you going to do now? leave a fund behind ? from what ? the remaining money in the HOA account ? what happens when that runs out ? who’s going to pay for the needed maintence ? i suggest a special tax on that developement , to be placed in an account for future needs… pay now or pay later … I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today…

  7. The grass always appears greener on the other side. No one in Darbybrook wanted to dump this on the other citizens of Berryville. The do have money in an account that they wanted to turn over to the Town to maintain the water retention pond. Richie Wilkins did basically the same thing when he developed the Hermitage. That aside, no one is trying to be irresponsible and the hostility that is being expressed is really unnecessary.

  8. Roscoe Evans says:

    What was the Darbybrook lawyer hired to do?

    I ask because it seems that there might be other alternatives to maintaining the status quo and full annexation of the subject area by the town. A couple hours of research into the arcane topics of dissolution of HOA’s, amendment of HOA agreements, or delegation of HOA authority, etc., may resolve the matter at a reasonable cost to all parties. It’s not like starting from ground zero on the Manhattan Project, you know. Other folks in other towns have resolved legal problems just like yours, I am certain, and there is legal documentation available for you to review and amend appropriately to suit your needs.

    Get yourselves together, re-define your goals, put together some cash, and hire a firm that is experienced in dealing with municipalities.

  9. Richie Blick says:

    I feel for my friends in Darbybrooke. I think the board members should ALL step aside and give the reins to other neighbors. New ideas. Have a fundraiser. Block party. Joint yard sale. Enjoy what you do have. My neighborhood does not have sidewalks, no tot lot, no slide, no swings, so be thankful you do and care for it. Even if it is volunteer. I am sure some people are willing to pay dues. if not, convince them. If they have money in the bank to turn over to the town they can’t be that destitute. the person or persons who’s idea it was to dissolve the HOA and actually vote on it should be quiet from now on. It cannot cost that much money to mow the grass and keep insurance on the property. The equipment is nearly new. The neighborhood has been hit hard by defaults, foreclosures, short sales and people not paying the dues. Can’t squeeze blood for a turnip. Seriously, somebody in that neighborhood can swing by and mow if needed. It really is a beautiful neighborhood with great people living there. Enjoy and move on.