Trying to put up a fence

calista23April 28, 2012

Ok. My husband was given permission by our HOA president to put up a fence. We live on a storm water retention pond, which last time measured was 59 ft. deep! We have 3 children, 3, 6, 10 and 2 dogs. We have people wondering through our yard as a means of getting to the common area, we have had kids vandalize our swingset and through all the removable pieces into the pond. We decided it was time to put up a fence. We are not trying to put up a privacy fence, since we like the view of the pond, we are just putting up a 4ft. picket fence. We live in a nice neighborhood, but the houses aren't 300,000 + dollar homes. All of a sudden, we were told that we couldn't put up a fence, because in the "committees sole opinion it might create a sight obstruction". We have already purchased some of the materials, since we were told by the HOA president that it was ok. So we put up some fence panels temporarily to prove that it did not create or block anyone elses view of the pond, which is down a steep bank. They said they would come over and review, then one of them comes up with this scenario: "What if someone puts a boat on the pond and it capsizes?"..Seriously!!! The pond isn't large enough to put a regular boat in, and one they would have to back a trailer through someone's property and down a steep bank to get one into the pond. Not to mention you couldn't even go anywhere, the widest point of the pond is maybe 1/2 a football field, the length is a little longer than a football field. The other end of the pond is probably only a little more than 30 feet wide. At this point I feel like they are just being petty, the lady that is making the big deal of it dislikes my husband. I am at a loss, we are not creating a site obstruction! Most of our neighbors don't care if we put up a fence. I don't know how to handle this in our favor.

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Check your HOA documents for guidance-
Fences should be spelled out in the "Deed Restrictions"
The next place to check is with the City or township/county you live in to find out if there are fence restrictions, (such as height, type of materials, setbacks, easements, etc.)

If it is not spelled out specifically in your HOA documents, then you need to approach the board, (with photos of the "temporary" fence panels in place to show what it will look like).
Also, if there are other fences in the association, arm yourself with photos of those also.

As a long time board member and past president of my HOA, I will assure you that if you come to the board well prepared, with detailed scaled drawings and a good attitude about it, it will be in your favor, (unless fences are specifically notated in your HOA doc's.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:17PM
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I think these organizations should generally lean towards saying Yes unless there are really compelling reasons not to. It sounds like you have some No's there. I really get bugged by people who enjoy saying no.

Second the advice on looking at the covenants to find out exactly what you already agreed to when you bought the place, AND at the HOA charter to find out what authority the board has re fences.

If you really do need their permission, make your case objectively and that's the best you can do. You have great reasons you can list:

- Trespassers through your yard (I assume, *not* on an easement that allows access to others)
- Vandalism - you have a security problem
- Little kids who can fall in the pond. Google up how many kids drowned in the US last year. (the CDC should have it)
- the fence is low and not solid so it can be seen through and over.
- The fact that the pres. told you it would be OK should carry some weight. Even if that was the wrong thing to say, you proceeded on what you thought was an authoritative statement. They should err on the side of backing that up.

If worse comes to worst, you can defy the board and they will have to sue you, which they may not want to spend the time on. You might want to find out your rights and what that process could entail if this is important enough to you. Then you can simply drop a hint that the board's ruling is not necessarily the end of it. If they're smart they will know you have your ducks in a row.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:01AM
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It would definitely help your case if you brought the issue to a few of your immediate neighbors and had them sign a petition or letter to the HOA saying that they support (or atleast are indifferent) to your plan.

HOA's can be very annoying, they have more authority and power over your property than local governments and yourself in some cases.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 2:47PM
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