By Kelly Mixer 
Article Courtesy of Gilbert Independent
Week of May 29, 2002 

The debate over the conveyance of common land in the Wind Drift  subdivision continued last week at the monthly homeowner's association meeting, where homeowners said they were stifled and those who did get to speak were limited to three minutes and they said their questions still remained
unanswered when they left the meeting.

At the beginning of the evening, Gilbert police were called by former board president Deb Young to escort a homeowner out of the meeting for speaking up when she was not on the "agenda"..  Ironically, the police arrived just minutes after one board member, Tammy Walsh, said the police had never
arrived when she called them in the past after catching local children marking on a block wall in the common area.

"I called the police and they never came.  They don't have time to get to all of this stuff,."  Ms. Walsh said referring to neighborhood vandalism in the common area.

Board members said they thought it was a good idea to look into deeding 1200 square feet of common land that slopes down into a retention basin to two or three homeowners, but they said they never approved the work that had begun in the area last month.

Only one of the homeowners,  David Tomczak, had responded but at last week's he said he did not want the land anymore because it turned the neighborhood against him.

The association's attorney, James Hazlewood, told residents that Charles Scarborough, head of the Wind Drift Architectural Review Committee, "went further than the board authorized"  when he told Mr. Tomzcak to hire someone to dump dirt and grade the area.  Mr. Scarborough said he also dumped
excess dirt from another HOA project into the location.

"The town of Gilbert is allowing that (dirt) to stay right now,"  Mr. Hazlewood said.  "It makes no sense for dirt to be removed that's already there."

Mario Mangiamele, senior planner for the town of Gilbert, said he had met with Mr. Hazlewood on May 14 and gave the HOA a 10 day extension on the land that would expire after May 24.

"We agreed to work with them.  We gave them 10 days to respond to the town with a revised engineering report that addressed the retention issue."  Mr. Mangiamele explained.  "They were under the opinion that they had every right to give the property away.  They still have to follow laws and

He said the area had been previously tampered with and trees and shrubs had been removed.  He added that it did not matter who did the damage, the HOA was responsible for putting the property back into the original condition (as the town council adopted it when the area was developed) before any other projects could be approved.

At press time, the HOA had still not submitted the required engineering report.

In addition, Mr. Mangiamele said the HOA had never applied for a permit to dump dirt and convey land.  He said Mr. Scarborough had applied for a permit and was denied twice to install a gate in the area but that was the only permit the HOA had sought.

"We need ownership approval by the HOA and there was no evidence of that," Mr. Mangiamele said, adding that several homeowners had called him to say that Mr. Scarborough was not even a homeowner. "Homeowners have called and don't want a gate there because the kids use it to access the (common) area."

Mr. Mangiamele said he denied the first gate permit on April 30 because Mr. Scarborough had applied for a wrought iron fence permit with plans for a block wall.  The second permit was denied on May 6 because ownership authorization and code compliance issues had not been addressed.

As the debate continued during the homeowner's meeting the resident who believed the board was conveying the land to him spoke up.

"Charles (Scarborough), you pressured me to get the dirt in there.  I paid for every penny of it."  Mr. Tomzcak insisted.

He then asked the board to refund his money and Mr. Hazlewood said the board could not address the issue.  Mr. Tomscak then turned to his fellow neighbors and said, "If I do get a refund I will take about $400 of it and go buy some kegs of beer and invite everybody over and get to know you

Mr. Scarborough stood up and addressed the residents saying the "tot lot was my project.  I was the one who came to the board with the recommendation. I was under the impression we (referring to the board) were going to convey this property so this is not something I jumped the gun on.."

He went on to say, "what everybody is here about is someone gets a piece of property and others don't.  I think the code enforcement officers of Gilbert can do a lot more than look where dirt has been dumped.

In response code compliance officer Steve Wallace said last week that "it's a pity (Mr, Scarborough) doesn't take a more responsible attitude."

During the homeowner's meeting, resident Judy Orchard asked for "the immediate removal" of Mr. Scarborough and property manager Madeline Harding of the Reedy Group in Chandler.

"We should seek out a management company that is responsible to the people who pay their salaries."  Ms. Orchard commented.

When asked what he thought about a homeowner asking for the termination of his employee, Tim Reedy said this was not his company's fault and he emphasized that, "were not just her for the board,  we're  here for everybody.  If people have these kinds of issues, I've told everybody my door is always open."

Another resident, Brigitte Peterson,  asked who was paying for the engineering report, permit applications, fees and attorney expenses in regards to the "tot lot" issue.

Mr Hazlewood said the HOA was paying for all of those items.

Before the evening was over, board members voted Paul Jones out of his position on the board for lack of attendance and Debb Young resigned as board president.  She sighted (sic)  that her decision was actually made after the April homeowners association meeting where a homeowner was unable
to address the board without being accused of  fabricating her perception of the situation.  It became a showdown . . . them against the homeowner." She emphasized that some members of the board have "become very defensive and overreact when confronted by homeowners with controversial or difficult

Ms. Young said that over the past four to five months she had received several phone calls and letters from disgruntled and "many of them felt that their concerns had not been addressed in  a professional manner.  They felt that their situation was handled in a way that was demeaning and/or disrespectful."

She went on to tell the homeowners remaining in the meeting that the board had not approved the work to begin on the conveyance of land in the "tot lot".

Mr. Wallace said the issue will be reviewed again by the town on May 28.

"How do you  resolve issues when you don't let the homeowners talk,"   Ms. Young concluded.