removes tank from driveway
Article Courtesy of News-Press.Com
|By Wendy Fullerton,
A Fort Myers resident has moved the World War II tank he parked in his driveway to protest a neighborhood ban on pickups.
“I got tired of looking at it myself,’’ said Brad Sanders, who moved the tank about a week ago after it spent a month in his Whiskey Creek driveway.
His truck is still parked in the garage but now Sanders will focus his attention on getting the rules changed.
Sanders had been parking his $40,000 pickup truck in his driveway until the homeowners association sent him a letter in March that he was violating the deed restrictions.
He abided by the rules and parked his truck in the garage. Then he borrowed a friend’s World War II English armored vehicle and parked it in his driveway.
At the time, he said, “By the time they’re done looking at the tank, they’re going to beg me to park my truck there.”
They never said a word, Sanders said Tuesday, “which was kind of my point.
“I can’t park a truck there but for a month I can park a tank and you can’t find anything wrong with it.’’
He plans to attend the next board meeting to start working on changes.
Dan Black, in charge of deed restriction enforcement for the Whiskey Creek Civic Association, said residents thought the tank was just silliness on Sanders’ part.
Black said restrictions can be amended if it’s what residents want. He doesn’t support a change to the truck ban.
“There are some nice ones but there are also a lot of raggedy ones,’’ he said. “Basically, we’re just trying to keep the community nice.’’
over association rules turns in uncivil war
Weapons include lawsuits, attorneys, tanks
Article Courtesy of News-Press.Com
|By Wendy Fullerton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Myers resident Brad Sanders rolled out the heavy artillery — a World War II tank — in a fight over a neighborhood ban on pickup trucks in driveways.
A Bonita Springs couple painted over a mural on their lanai wall to comply with their community association rules.
There are boards nicknamed Neighborhood Nazis or Condo Commandos, with their Gestapo-like methods of enforcing rules that often lead to homeowner horror stories.
But supporters argue they are simply trying to protect the value and quality of their neighborhoods.
“The media often paints it as the big bad association picking on individual rights, but you have to keep in mind, when people buy into a deed restriction community, they are buying into a contract with all of their neighbors,” said attorney Joe Adams, who writes a column on associations for The News-Press.
Adams’ firm, Becker and Poliakoff, represents about 750 homeowners associations in Lee and Collier counties.
“These sometime become very costly battles over what you might call matters of principle,’’ he said.
Deed restrictions are legally binding rules that provide for building, maintaining and using homes in a neighborhood. They can control house colors, building heights, fences and other do’s and don’ts in the subdivision.
People buy homes not just because of the house, but because of the neighborhood, Adams said. “For people who’ve made often the largest investment of their life, they have a right to have those expectations met.”
In a Gallup Poll released in 1999, 75 percent of homeowners surveyed said their association rules are very or extremely appropriate for the community. Two-thirds said their community’s rules and restrictions are very or extremely well enforced. Only 7 percent found their community’s rule enforcement very or extremely unfair.
Sanders, who paid $277,500 for his Whiskey Creek home — then made another $80,000 in improvements — understands the rules.
Dan Black, the enforcer of the deed restrictions for the Whiskey Creek Civic Association, said it can be a daunting task.
“It’s a thankless job I have, believe me,’’ he said. “There’s no vindictiveness, it’s just a fact.”
“It doesn’t take long to really bring a neighborhood down,’’ Black said. “That’s all we’re trying to prevent, to keep it the nice neighborhood it’s been for the last 30 years.’’
“It’s very frustrating,’’ Black said, about trying to make people comply with the rules. Fortunately, he added, “You don’t have to do it often.’’
The tank matter has been turned over to attorneys.
Attorneys got involved last month, when Jim Lundergan painted over the mural of the Italian coastline that graced the poolside wall of his $250,000 home in Bonita Springs. A lawsuit was threatened.
The Lundergans said the mural was on the inside wall of their lanai, facing the pool, and was part of their living space.
Spanish Wells homeowners association leaders disagreed. They said the mural graced an exterior wall and needed to be approved by the group’s architecture review board.