Gilbert taking HOAs to task
By Edythe Jensen
Article Courtesy of The Arizona Republic
May 10, 2001 

GILBERT - Gilbert officials almost shut off the water in the Country Lane subdivision where Dave Lawdensky lives because a management company didn't pay the bill.

A developer left Sonoran Vista, Danny Kennel's neighborhood, with unfinished amenities and an empty bank account.

Both men are part of a community push for more town control of about 275 homeowners associations in Gilbert.

Tuesday, council members agreed to take the first step by forming a Neighborhood Advisory Board, but were told their legal powers to control associations are limited.

Gilbert requires homeowners associations in all new subdivisions, but is powerless when it comes to regulating them once they're formed.

"There is no legal way we can require what we had hoped," Town Manager Kent Cooper said.

A Homeowners Association Task Force of which Lawdensky and Kennel are members urged the council to require registration of all associations and management companies, provide municipal mediation for disputes and oversee the writing of deed restrictions during neighborhood zoning.

Town Attorney Susan Goodwin said Gilbert would be on thin ice legally if it went that far.

Councilman Mike Evans urged a renewed lobbying effort for state legislation governing associations and municipalities' ability to control them.

A bill this year designed to give residents and municipalities more control over homeowner associations failed in the Legislature.