Residents battle homeowners association



Article Courtesy of The Daily News -- Galveston County

Published November 7, 2004


SAN LEON — Not all is well along the canal-lined streets of San Leon.

In a small 49-lot neighborhood off of the main FM 517 drag, a group of homeowners has gotten together to oust its current association board.

“We have a whole bunch of problems,” said Conrad Noessel, a resident of Edwards Landing subdivision. “We have a homeowners association that has gone absolutely wild.”

Association members dispute that assertion, though. They say their neighbors just don’t want to follow the rules.

The most controversial rule deals with boats and boat trailers. According to the original Declaration of Cov-enants, Conditions and Restrictions for the neighborhood, residents can have one only boat trailer and boat, and they can’t keep them in their driveways or on the street.

Noessel, who owns a boat, said the association is selectively enforcing the rules. He said board members are allowed to have amenities such as pools or additional personal watercraft that are against the bylaws, but go after him for having his boat poking out from under the carport.

Three board members said they think the board is fair in administering the rules.

“The board is here to serve all members of the association,” said Board President Brenda Ganter.

“The board cannot ignore the regulations or give special consideration to one association member over another.”

Noessel and two dozen of his closest neighbors have gotten mad enough to bring about a change.

It takes 50 percent of the neighborhood to call a special meeting or remove a board member. Last week, resident Louis Grantges gathered voting proxies from 27 residents and hand-delivered them to the house of two board members.


He asked for a special meeting on Nov. 18. At that time he and others will ask the current board to step down.

The proxy delivery was the culmination of months of conflict between some residents and the board. It hasn’t been a pretty fight.

There have been rumors of bribery, voter fraud, talk of lawsuits and an anonymous limerick about the fiasco left on one resident’s front porch.

And it’s about more than just egos. All residents pay $504 in annual association dues. They also put $1,000 up a year for bulkhead repair.

Whoever is in charge of the board calls the shots on annual spending. Some residents say they’ve had a hard time getting financial documentation. Wayne Ganter, board treasurer and the president’s husband, denied that assertion. He said residents are given annual budgets and final spending reports.

Other residents have complained that the association meetings are held in secret. Wayne Ganter said that’s the way it is, and only the annual meeting is open to the public. Residents are allowed to give presentations during regular board meetings, he said.

Residents claim their board, which includes three elected and two appointed members, is like a clique. The two appointed members are both the significant others of two board members.

“We don’t get respect because we are not in the ‘in’ crowd,” Noessel said.

Board members dispute that assertion.

“Sure they think it’s a clique — because we are enforcing the rules,” Wayne Ganter said.

He said he would consider legal actions if a new board is appointed and refuses to enforce the rules. It takes 75 percent of the residents to change a rule, otherwise the board is required to enforce it, he said.

But those pushing for the ousting say they are not trying to sidestep the bylaws, they just want a change in the leadership.

Becky Mitchell, secretary for the association, said things didn’t used to be like this in Edwards Landing. Once upon a time, all the residents got along.

“It’s a divided neighborhood because of this issue now,” she said.