(July 5, 2018) "I am astounded as to why this Board continues to behave in a way that invites investigation and rebuke from agencies and organizations whose mission is to protect Senior Citizens and the disabled. If this behavior continues the situation is likely to become public thus impacting the revered “property values” touted by those allegedly concerned about the image of this community.
A further concern is the tendency of this Board to cater to a “management company” that is often blatantly in violation of its contract without any visible consequence. Why this occurs is a mystery but my imagination has indulged in creative speculation.
You have failed to provide a cogent reason why residents who wish to examine documents that they entitled to see must be inconvenienced by a drive to Cranberry when the “management company” was given space in the club house in which to conduct business.
Furthermore it would be wise to include residents who are astutely monitoring operations in the community in the decision making process rather than treating them and labeling them as “trouble makers”.
There is a Board member who, when confronted with a question he cannot answer or a fact which he does not have the knowledge to dispute, replies “That is your opinion”.
Well this is my informed opinion—I would really welcome more of these."
(July 2, 2018)
I along with other residents of this community are genuinely concerned over the sloppy reporting and absence of follow-up on many issues that are either done with duplicity or incompetency on her part. It is time that she be held accountable for the fiscal responsibility that is expected by this community from her services and gives all in this community satisfaction of a honest reporting. The supplying of the financial reports that were provided in the past are no long available to us as residents and that elimination of transparency does come with some reporting responsibility on her part and that of her company. As we discussed in our meeting the first of June, I don’t believe it is too much to ask that the reports are brought here in their entirety.
I would appreciate some consideration for all of us."
(July 1, 2018) "Why place undue hardship and inconvenience on the residents of a 55+ community who simply wish to review how their money is being spent and managed? We would hope the management company and Board of Directors are not intentionally making records access, review and copying difficult for requesting homeowners as a form of retribution and/or concealment. Please provide a rational and relevant explanation:
In the past 2 years members of the Board have displayed a lack of knowledge regarding both the performance bond and the maintenance bond. Both of these bonds are relevant to our community.
In November 2017, the Board was unable to answer a resident's inquiry about the status and dollar amount of the performance bond.
April, 2019, when asked, the board had no idea of the maintenance bond. Even though the Board president told the homeowners road repairs are being assessed and needed.
The current maintenance bond covers the community's roads AND storm water management system. Ohio Township may be responsible for our roads but the HOA is responsible for the community's storm water management system.
Definition of a Maintenance Bond: A maintenance bond is not technically insurance, but basically functions as an insurance policy on a construction project that promises a contractor will either correct any defects that arise or that the owner is compensated for those defects.
Annual Meeting, April 11, 2019: A homeowner asked the Board to please update us on the Maintenance Bond which pertains to our roads and storm water management -- the Board knew nothing about the current status of the Bond, the amount, or end-date.
It is important and a fiscal responsibility for the Board to stay up-to-date on the Bond (as it pertains to roads in our community). The Board President had indicated there were roads in our community in need of assessment and repair.
Fortunately, a resident and non-board member, was able to provide the information about the dollar amount and end-date (which is very soon) to the Board.
A suggestion was made that the Board try to be more attentive to important issues and opportunities that benefit homeowners.
The Board needs to do better.
"Please provide me with a copy of the community's current maintenance plan. Not the new "matrix", but the current, comprehensive property maintenance plan that has been executed since January 2017.
If it is available in electronic form you can send it to this email address. Or, if there is a website where the plan is located, please provide the URL.
Please send me a copy of the existing Property Maintenance Plan no later than Tuesday, September 25, 2018.
When a board and community manager fail to maintain the common areas, property values drop. Deferral of necessary inspections, maintenance and repair only serves to prolong the inevitable - - at a cost (in dollars as well as property value) that is far greater than sacrificing to do what is right and necessary in a timely fashion. Property values will decrease and monthly assessments will increase.
The Board’s decision to not have an independent 2017 audit of the HOA combined with their poor supervision of the management company's accounting and record-keeping procedures indicates a lack of financial oversight.
UPDATE (7/20/2018): The Board has finally decided to have an independent audit of 2017 financial statements.
The board and management company need a reminder that the HOA exists to protect the integrity of the community and do what is in the best interest of its members. Being open and honest about decisions, funding, contracts, services, maintenance, and more is essential to keep homeowners involved and informed.
Click on the button below to download the "highlights" from that meeting.
August 25, 2018: However, this doesn't mitigate the fact that the Board "dropped the ball" again, and allowed TOA to avoid any financial responsibility for a "promise" TOA made over a year ago. Again, the homeowners are paying the entire cost for something that could have been negotiated.
Source: 6/17/18 Board Brief
Homeowner comment: $33,000 is a "significant expense."
Source: 4/3/2017 Board Brief
The question was asked: "Why didn't we get the building TOA promised?"
The Board response: "TOA never responded to us."
(Source: 8/25/2018 Special Meeting of the HOA Board)
At the meeting a homeowner also asked why we couldn't have pursued some type of negotiated agreement wherein TOA would have provided us financial consideration for the smaller building they would have built? Something to offset the TOTAL cost of constructing an entirely new building? There was no response from the Board.
Yep, we're not making this up. It appears the Board chose to not be assertive with TOA and failed to pursue a resolution to the additional pool building issue. Did the Board even try to negotiate? Also, the Board admits there was never anything put in writing. (Even though Board and Committee meeting minutes indicate this building was an issue being discussed as early as May 2017.)
This is not sound business judgement. This lack of common sense and poor decision making will continue to endanger the community. The Board's performance must improve. If it doesn't then homeowners will be burdened by more expenses and HOA resources will be used to compensate for mistakes made and opportunities missed.
Please don't be fooled by the misinformation on the HOA website.
The Board is citing excerpts from the Public Offering Statement to support their development of the Maintenance Matrix.
The Public Offering Statement is not a governing document. it is simply a disclosure statement.
The Public Offering Statement has no bearing on the HOA management and property maintenance of our community.
It is not a part of the community's governing documents.
"Real estate signs and frames must be purchased from [---] sign company in Bridgeville, PA. The cost of the for sale sign is the responsibility of the owner or sales agent."
Source: Resolution Amending the Rules and Regulations of the Sewickley Ridge Homeowners Association Section G. Signs - Real Estate Signage
(Highlights added by Web Administrator)
"Subject- For sale sign in front, finally but it has to be bought from a company in Bridgeville for around $135, ridiculous. What is next, Real Estate firms supply signs at no cost. I assume this comes from the Board or [the management company], does Liberty [Hills] the other over 55 community charge for signs,* whose pocket is being lined. Thanks,"
Resident, Victory Lane
Let's see if we've got this straight:
So, the board decides to focus on "For Sale" signs! They pass a resolution to force homeowners to comply with a rule amendment restricting "For Sale" signs?!? Really? This was a priority with everything else that is happening in the community?
WE'RE BEGGING THE BOARD--PLEASE START USING COMMON SENSE, SET RATIONAL PRIORITIES, AND ESTABLISH REASONABLE AND FAIR RULES.
HOA's and directors cannot act in an arbitrary and capricious manner toward individual homeowners, nor can they single out certain homeowners for disparate or discriminatory treatment.
Rules should be developed only if they are necessary and have a purpose that benefits homeowners.
Good rules resolve, rather than create, problems.
Make sure that rules balance the protection of property values with our residents’ freedom to enjoy their homes.
And for goodness sake, start setting intelligent priorities and focus on our community’s real problems.
"Pumpkins may be displayed during October and November." Uh oh, it's only September.
Why is this resident (a Board Member) permitted to violate a rule?
We love this time of year, especially displaying pumpkins. Is pointing out this violation petty? We know it is, that is why we didn't report it.
But think about the $50,000+ OF HOA MONEY OUR BOARD SPENT SUING A FELLOW HOMEOWNER FOR RULE VIOLATIONS. Let that sink in...
UPDATE: TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2019
If past behavior is any guide, homeowners may soon receive a communication in the form of a “Board Brief”, a one-way “No Reply” email, or HOA website announcement. This will be an attempt by the Board to justify limiting an exterior maintenance item (cleaning of unit siding) for which the Association is responsible. There will be excuses made as to why the Board will not assist homeowners. These will range from “there’s nothing we can do about it” to “we don’t have the money or resources.” In our opinion, lack of knowledge and/or poor budget planning are not viable excuses.
The Board’s explanation will be filled with equivocation and lame rationalizations. There will be claims of due-diligence and effort with no evidence to support such claims. The end result will be a decision to do nothing and place the responsibility for action solely on the homeowner. We’ve seen, and heard, it all before.
It is come to my attention that some misstatements were made at a recent Board meeting regarding the lawsuit I filed in response to broken promises made by TOA and Board interference in the conflict that I have with this builder.
It was allegedly stated that I have continued to construct roadblocks to settlement. This is not true. One of these “road blocks” was a suggestion that a heater be provided by the Board in the event of an outdoor meeting. This was a sarcastic remark made by plaintiff’s attorney in frustration over the parties’ failure to come to agreement over a meeting place to discuss settlement options. I am quite surprised and amused that anyone would take that remark seriously.
Another issue was the request by plaintiff’s female attorney that her and her client’s personal safety are assured during meetings. This request was in response to inappropriate language used by defendants during a conference call. Plaintiff’s attorney perceived this language to be threatening and promptly terminated the call. Plaintiff’s attorney was reasonably concerned about the personal safety of herself and her client after this phone call, especially since defendant’s counsel suggested meeting at a remote and isolated facility.
A comment was also made that there was an offer to “follow the rules in the future.” This was a gross misinterpretation of plaintiff attorney’s attempts to discuss “grandfather clauses” which are provisions to allow an old rule to apply to an existing situation with the understanding that new rules apply in future cases. Grandfather clauses are often applicable in cases such as this and reasonable Boards use them in order to avoid expensive litigation and ill will.
The truth is that I have consistently tried to follow community guidelines. I do not care about the rock wall that has driven this Board into a three-year frenzy. That wall was constructed by a landscaper that I hired to build the patio that TOA promised me. Since construction began after I closed on the house, TOA could not charge me a commission. So, they refused to give me the patio they promised me during their sales pitch. I agreed with their modifications, gave the rulebook to the landscaper, and put him in touch with the TOA property managers. To my knowledge, I was then “in compliance.”
Then the fines began by a TOA controlled Board. (It is interesting to note that TOA hired my landscaper to work on their other properties and three of the model homes at the Cranberry site have an exact replica of this wall).
I have made numerous attempts to settle this case. I do not care about the notion of “winning.” My ego is not that fragile. I have repeatedly offered to dismantle the rock wall in exchange for an 8-foot extension of the existing patio that has an awning. I have submitted drawings on several occasions to verify that this patio would be in compliance with guidelines. There is a sewer easement involved but the township has given me permission to encroach upon it. But the Board wishes to proceed with expensive arbitration. Again.
Another aspect of the case involves my claim against a Board member for arbitrary application of the rules. I have sufficient evidence to support this claim.
The Board can't attack the messages so they attack the messenger:
At the October 10, 2019 Board meeting, the President waited until the very end of the meeting to present a statement from the Board maligning this website, its administrator and content.
He read the statement and then immediately adjourned the meeting -- scurrying away and not allowing for any response. A strong indication they are frightened (bullies always are) and unable to defend their statement or prove their allegations.
False accusations and unjustified implications were made. This is what people who lack valid arguments resort to.
**UPDATE: We requested a copy of the statement to share with all homeowners. The Board's reply: "The Board Statement delivered by [the president] at the end of the meeting was for residents in attendance at the meeting. We are not required to nor plan on releasing the statement."
So much for the transparency we have been promised. It appears the Board cannot stand behind their statement.
Homeowners deserve the truth, not the self-serving, whiny nonsense the Board presented.
If you wish to see the actual statement, with the Advocacy response, click on the button below to request a copy.
[Note: Copies will only be provided to homeowners with an email address registered to the Sewickley Ridge HOA.]
Suggested changes to the 2020 Board elections procedure were sent to the Board of Directors in December 2019.
If we hear anything from the Board, we will post the response here.
2/24/2020 Oh well...the Board never responded to our suggestions. They have announced the management company will handle all aspects of the election.
If you would like to review the suggestions sent to the Board, click on the button below or click on the "Board Election 2020" page in the menu at the top of this page.
However, the HOA Board must respect a homeowner's individual freedoms.
Homeowners should expect a certain quality of treatment from their association and Board. These expectations are based on rights established in the law, or on basic standards of decency and respect.
Homeowners who assertively pursue their rights through reasonable and proper channels can change their HOA, while boards who wrongly or purposefully deny rights of homeowners who are behaving reasonably will only hinder the HOA’s purpose. And when both parties work together towards one common goal, it’s amazing the community they can build.
According to the management company contract "negotiated" by our Board:
Residents must travel to the management company’s office (near the Pittsburgh airport) and PAY $50 PER HOUR to review how their money is being spent and invested.
The information will not be provided in any other way. Unless you're on the Board or a "select" committee--then the documents and information will be provided to you, either copies or by electronic access.
ALL OTHER HOMEOWNERS MUST PAY TO SEE HOW THEIR MONEY IS BEING SPENT AND MANAGED.