Vote may dissolve homeowners group 
An agreement between the McKnight Homeowners Association and property owners will also settle a dispute over liens.
Article Courtesy of The Springfield News
February 17, 2002 

SPRINGFIELD, MA  - The state Attorney General's office is entering into a settlement with the McKnight Homeowners Association aimed at resolving a prolonged dispute between the association and numerous homeowners. 

Under the proposed settlement, the association will remove notices of liens that were placed on 109 properties in the McKnight neighborhood, said Ann E. Donlan, a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Thomas Reilly. 

The lien notices were placed in an effort to collect unpaid dues from the homeowners. Numerous homeowners denied owing money to the association. 

As part of the settlement, the association has agreed to hold a meeting tomorrow to let homeowners affected by the liens decide if the association should be dissolved, Donlan said. 

"We are working hard to try to resolve the issues in the neighborhood," Donlan said. "One of the intentions of the proposed settlement is to resolve the issue of the liens." 

The association formed in 1982 as a private, nonprofit, covenanted homeowners association, with the stated purpose of improving the neighborhood and property values. 

The attorney general's office began receiving complaints from homeowners in 2001, challenging the liens placed on their properties and contesting the claim that they owed money to the association. 

At tomorrow's meeting, the association will be dissolved if fewer than 30 homeowners indicate an interest in participating, according to a letter to homeowners from the Attorney General's office. All homeowners who have liens on their properties have been invited, the letter said. 

The meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. in the community room at Sovereign Bank, 1350 Main St. 

If there is interest in continuing the association, the members will vote on whether the association's membership should be voluntary or required by covenant. Association officials have stated that annual membership "runs with the land," meaning it continues when a house is sold to a new owner, with payment of dues required. 

Donna M. Miner of 173 Bay St., one of the homeowners affected by the liens, said she would hope and expect residents to vote to dissolve the association. 

"I don't know anyone who received anything positive, anything other than aggravation," Miner said. "The best thing for the neighborhood is to put this behind us and move on with our lives." 

Association Executive Director David P. Gaby, said he has been involved since 1981 in building the association as a needed supplement to the McKnight Neighborhood Council. 

"In these times of funding cuts in the public sector, with park maintenance cuts and with the city sponsoring demolition of historic houses, having an active Homeowners Association is even more important than in the past," Gaby said in a prepared statement. "It is my hope the McKnight residents will see this obvious fact past the smoke screen of innuendo and falsehood that has been erected by those apparently threatened by the idea of autonomous community organization." 

Under the proposed agreement, Gaby would not file liens on property in the future unless granted permission by the Attorney General's office, the letter to residents states. 

If homeowners agree to continue the association, the members will elect all new officers and directors, the letter states.